“ a compromise formula which includes a proposal to take top 20% students based on percentile ranking of respective boards for preparing the merit list”

How meaningless is this solution ?. Higher education in India will become the domain of the school toppers and Children of affluent parents and we wonder why half a million students leave India to study undergraduate courses overseas. Children who will never return to a country that shunned them.

Is this is what we call inclusive in RTE ?.

God Save India

Inclusive education does not mean that everyone must enter, or pass out from, an IIT. It only means that if you wanted to, you could have a shot at it. The child labourer is excluded because she can never dream of entering an IIT; she may absolutely hate IIT, but not trying to join an IIT should be her decision. Even if there is only one IIT train, every child must have access to the platform where the train comes. Of course, not everyone will get on to the train but everyone knows what to do to have a shot at the train. This is called inclusion in education. Everyone must go to school till class 12; those who work hard, and are willing to work harder still, will join an IIT. Others will, by choice, decide not to work that hard and become economists.

Shubhashis Gangopadhyay


All children are born equal and mindless politicians are trying to grade the children and youth of the nation and create a new Brahamanical Caste system in Education, which is pandering to the neo rich who can afford to send their children to elite private schools and Coaching schools.

"HRD Ministry of India wants to build castles of higher education on the bamboo scaffoldings of its schools" ~ Satish Jha

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

373 - IIT admission row: Address the real problem Economic Times


Jun 25, 2012, 04.34AM IST

The IIT student-selection imbroglio has the familiar confusion on what the real problem issues are. Understandable, because the problem is complex and the solution not obvious because of a sensitive public good that has many stakeholders, and because the root cause lies outside the IITs, in a largely state-controlled mediocre education system with an enormous demand-supply gap for quality and meritocracy. Parents and students see the few islands that have delivered both, and pull out all the stops to get in. Therefore, what is currently being formulated as a "too much pressure on children, how to reduce the number of tests" problem should be formulated as "too little capacity, how to fast-track building equally-good capacity in the shortest-possible period of time".

This needs far more than announcing new colleges with the same name in remote locations. What is wrong in students taking multiple tests, if they are conducted fairly, and do not hear money or political influence speak? It is the rite of passage of student-hood, even in the best education systems globally, students slog over multiple applications, essays, aptitude tests and interviews at undergrad levels. The mass of youth seeking jobs in India has a far rougher time than IIT aspirants. The real answer to the problem may not lie in the ministry of human resource development domain (decreasing the number of tests, etc) but in the faculty domain (finding intellectually-smart computer-based testing system that defangs coaching classes).
In a public good, there are always shades of grey on who gets to call the shots. Faculty cannot say "it's our call", and then not urgently deliver solutions to the problems caused by the present testing system, that many of them admit to. Supporters of educational-institution autonomy and activists in the ecosystem cannot unconditionally oppose government and support status-quo demands and slow response from faculty. No minister with intellectual humility and true belief in democracy can believe that he has the clinching wisdom and clout to decide the solution. Board members and chairmen of such institutions also cannot abdicate their societal responsibility and unquestioningly support government action because of fear of jeopardising their other businesses interests with the government or because they believe that it is "their money, they have a right to do what they [the government] want".
Truth is that it is not their money, but rather it is our money and they and we are trustees of it. So, the first-level framing of this problem is that this is about our democratic polity, renegotiating all our implicit (and explicit) boundaries of clout, freedom and responsibility. And, all of us who seek to engage with this problem, including government, must approach it thus.
The need for change in the IIT student-selection process has reportedly been discussed frequently by faculty senates. The faculty are increasingly concerned that the present process favours students who have successfully managed to do a one-time pole vault, after two years of narrow-focused training, to the exclusion of everything else. Many have not attended regular classes for 'plus two' (speaks volumes for the plus-two system) and are ill-equipped for the challenges of an IIT-type college system. They recognise that the test format selects high-intensity coaching-class students and does not sharply differentiate between normally-educated bright kids and obsessively-polished not-so-bright kids. Some of us who see the IIM system at close quarters wonder if we are getting hothouse flowers who cannot function except in a controlled environment.
If we 'decanted' the top hundred from the CAT and took the next two hundred, might we get a more healthy and hardy mainstream students who are better rounded individuals, likely to be better risk-takers, not obsessed about a single 'right answer' and, hence, better performers in the real world? The idea of a two-stage selection for IITs, the first stage including school marks (measured in a much more sophisticated way than MHRD suggests) as an indicator of sustained performance, is a good design principle. It will reduce the grip of the coaching classes. But the real answer is in designing innovative tests that measure 'true worth' and further reduce the coaching-class beat-the-system effect, and is the big intellectual challenge that the IIT faculty must solve quickly and completely, and earn the right to tell everyone else to back off.

Mr Kapil Sibal makes a specious argument when he says that "it is the decision of the IIT council and not of the ministry", when he is, in fact, the chairman of the council presumably because he is the minister. Further, he exercises considerable power in deciding members of the council, by deciding chairmen and directors. The "we will choose from three names institutions give us" autonomy, as in the case of IIMs as well, is a strange autonomy because the minister does not accept any ranking or feedback based on the institution's assessment of each chairman candidate's strengths and weaknesses vis-a-vis the contextual requirements for the job.
We owe it to our children not to bring arrogance, ego or poor listening skills to the problem-solving table, and to continue working collectively and intensively for as long as it takes for a good-enough solution that every stakeholder is okay with.
(The author is Independent Market Strategy Consultant)