BASANT KUMAR MOHANTY
New Delhi, June 1: The decision to reform the IIT selection process from next year by introducing a weightage for candidates’ Class XII board marks appears headed for a court battle.
Alumni association members from the IITs of Delhi, Kanpur and Kharagpur met here today and decided to move “various high courts” within a week against the IIT Council’s “unilateral” decision that overruled objections from several IIT senates.
IIT teachers and senates have cited how the various higher secondary boards adopt different standards of evaluation. They have argued that weightage to Class XII scores would disadvantage students from certain states, such as Bengal, whose boards are tight-fisted in awarding marks.
However, being government employees, the teachers would have found it difficult to move court against the IIT Council, which is headed by Union human resource development minister Kapil Sibal. The alumni, many of whom donate generously to the institutes, have no such problems.
IIT Delhi alumni association president Somnath Bharti said the IIT Council had only an advisory role on admission policy, which is the domain of the senates under the Institute of Technology Act.
“Section 15 of the act makes the senates responsible for maintenance of standards in education and examinations. Therefore, the senate is the body to decide on admission policy, not the council,” Bharti said.
He said the board marks could only be used as an eligibility criterion for appearance in the entrance exam.
“But there should not be any weightage for the board marks. We will challenge the IIT Council’s unilateral decision in the various high courts within a week,” Bharti said.
The alumni also plan to meet the Prime Minister and lobby against the admission reforms.
Sibal’s ministry had earlier asked the IITs to discuss the proposed reforms at their senates. Many senates opposed the changes, especially the weightage to board marks, but the IIT Council overruled them and approved the reforms on May 28.
Under the new system, the IIT-JEE and the All India Engineering Entrance Examination would be merged into a single Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for all centrally funded technology institutes from 2013.
The JEE will have two sections: Main and Advanced. Apart from the IITs, all the other central engineering colleges such as the NITs and the IIITs will give 40 per cent weightage to candidates’ board marks and 30 per cent each to their Main and Advanced scores.
However, the IITs are to do this only from 2015. In the first two years, they are to follow a two-step selection process.
First, they will do a preliminary screening, giving equal weightage to board marks and JEE Main scores, and select around 50,000. Each of these students will then be ranked solely on the basis of their JEE Advanced scores.
The IIT Faculty Federation has filed a note of dissent with Sibal against the decisions.
Today’s meeting was also attended by representatives of the IIT faculty forums, alumni body PanIIT, and students. The meeting felt that the new system, which gives weightage to three exams (the boards, Main and Advanced), would increase the pressure on students and promote the coaching industry.