July 10, 2012
By Arun George | Sabloo Thomas
But the formula arrived at after a debate of almost a year, is unlikely to have satisfied HRD minister Kapil Sibal who was rooting for a single test for admissions to all engineering colleges.
With states preferring to keep their options open still , the first edition of the common engineering entrance examination scheduled to roll out in 2013 will probably cover only Centrally-funded technical institutions like the 15 Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), 30 National Institutes of Technology (NIT), Indian Institutes of Information Technology, Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) and a few deemed universities, in its first year.
Also, giving in to the demand of IITs, an advance test will be held on a different day from the main for admissions to them, with only the top 1.50 lakh candidates from the latter qualifying to appear for it.
The HRD ministry has bowed to the IITs and dropped the idea of considering Class XII marks for admissions to them as well.
Instead only the top 20 percentile students of the respective Class XII board examinations will be allowed to take the proposed common engineering exam in 2013.
Educationist R V G Menon is all for selecting students with high percentile for the IIT entrance test as he feels this gives board examinations their due.
"Students today dont take their board examinations seriously enough because of the many coaching centres for IIT entrance tests in places like Kotta, Rajasthan and Delhi," he regrets.
Co-ordinator of the CBSE-ICSE Parents Forum Association, Dr N K Sanil Kumar, is however, worried the decision to allow only the top 20 percentile students of a board to appear for the IIT advanced test may act against the interest of students following the tougher CBSE and ICSE syllabi.
"But it is better than the mark normalisation process followed for some other entrance examinations, including some in Kerala, " he adds.
The rationale behind the common entrance exam for engineering colleges is to reduce both the psychological and financial stress on students because of multiple entrance tests and give greater importance to Class XII results.
Currently, there are 15 lakh engineering colleges across the country and more than 150 entrance tests are conducted for admission to them.
Besides the joint entrance examination conducted by the IITs and the AIEEE held by CBSE, all states have their own engineering examinations as do several deemed universities and private institutes.
Only top 20 percentile can appear for test
Following the opposition from the IIT Faculty Federation against considering the normalized percentile scores of class XII for shortlisting students for the JEE-Advanced test, the HRD ministry revised the proposal to allow only top 20 percentile students from each state board to appear for the screening test.
Other engineering colleges will use a 40:30:30 formula - with class XII board results counting for 40 per cent and the two stages of the entrance exam counting for 30 per cent each.
The new entrance format was to come into force from 2013. It will be restricted to central institutions as the states have not yet agreed to the common entrance test.
The initial proposal was to include normalised percentile scores of class XII board examination and JEE-Main test while shortlisting candidates for the JEE-Advanced test.
This allowed students with relatively lesser marks in board examinations to make up for the IITs by performing better in the screening test.
The new proposal is against the original aim of encouraging students to pay equal attention to the board examinations. The new proposal would deprive 80 percentile of students even an opportunity to appear for IITs.