Published On: 02 Jun 2012
The HRD ministry's decision to introduce a new combined entrance test for admission to IITs, NITs and centrally funded technical institutes, which has come in for all round criticism, will face a new challenge with the IIT alumni taking the ministry to court regarding the matter. Sources have revealed that members of the faculty at IIT-Kanpur have planned to protest the government's move by boycotting the convocation ceremony to be held today, June 2, 2012.
Although the faculty federations have made numerous attempts at seeking an appointment with the prime minister to explain their views, the HRD ministry has been constantly trying to engage them. Alumni and faculty members had a meeting on Friday, June 1, 2012 where they decided to file petition against the government's proposal within a week. Sources revealed that petition would be filed at many high courts and they expect to get a hearing at the earliest so that the new exam format can be postponed to 2014.
Officials from IIT Kanpur disclosed that members of the faculty were unhappy with the government's decision to go ahead with the new test, without consulting them. They added that the members will now protest by boycotting the convocation ceremony at the institute. However, some might attend the ceremony as it is an important day for many students.
Officials from the All India IIT Faculty federation have written to the prime minister opposing the government's decision and explaining the dissatisfaction among people concerned with the IITs across India. The IITs will be raising issues regarding the decision to consider board exam marks for admission to IITs. The 15 IITs, with about 10,000 seats in total are also going to raise concerns surrounding the decision to make a common test for IITs, NITs and IIITs, bringing down the standards of the institute.
The HRD ministry on the other hand is trying to prevent the matter from reaching the courts. Sources revealed that the ministry had conducted lengthy discussions for the last two years to address various concerns and accommodate suggestions.
They added that the IITs were ready to conduct the test for about 6 lakh students, but, the new test expects to witness about 20 lakh applicants. The ministry has stated that it will allow the IITs to direct the agencies conducting the test.
IITs debating new system
The new format is facing opposition from the beginning itself, with the IITs being unhappy with the decision of the government to consider board marks. Faculty federations of the IITs had also expressed their concern about the standards of the institute being lowered by admissions through a common exam.
This discontent among the IITs had earlier forced the HRD ministry to agree for a separate advance test for the IITs. Following further criticism, the government has decided to allow the IITs to conduct both parts of the exam. However, the board which used to conduct the AIEEE will assist them on this. The difficulty level, setting the question papers, evaluation and preparation of the merit list will be the responsibility of the IITs.
Sources revealed that senior IIT-Kharagpur members were being consulted regarding the same. The new exam will consist of a main test, expected to be of class XII board level. The second test will be of the IITJEE level. The main test will comprise of only multiple choice questions, while the advanced test may have subjective type questions. The IITs want to introduce these to be able to distinguish the brighter students, who would find logical ways to solve problems that are subjective. However, the plan may get scrapped as subjective answers would also be scored subjectively by the evaluator. Officials are worried that students might challenge the scores given under the RTI.
The IITs will also have to consider board marks of the candidates during admissions, and are miffed about it. Alumni and faculty feel that using board marks as a benchmark for admission will lower the quality of the institute. Also, the move has come in for criticism as poor students will be at a disadvantaged position owing to lack of quality schooling. Earlier, students needed minimum qualifying marks to appear for the exam. The new format will give students a better chance of cracking the IITs. The first merit list prepared will incorporate 50% of the candidate's score in board exams and main test.100% weightage will be given to the advanced test scores of such candidates.
However, for those seeking admission to centrally funded technical institutes, the format will be different. For them, 40% weightage will be given to board exam marks, while the main test and advanced test will carry a weightage of 30% each.
The IITs are also apprehensive about considering board marks as students will come from various boards. Normalization of marks from the various boards will be a debatable issue. The HRD ministry has called a meeting with the state education ministers to address this concern.
Source: Times of India