Dissent grows over new pattern of IIT-JEE
New Delhi: Even as the government has decided to go ahead with a new pattern for the joint entrance exam for the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT-JEE), the teachers and alumni of the IITs are not happy, some even planning to approach the courts.
According to sources, as many as five out of seven senates of the IITs had expressed opposition to the idea but the government chose to proceed regardless.
President of IIT Delhi Alumni Association (IITDAA) Somnath Bharti said the step diluted the vision of the country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru about the IITs, and added that the association may go to court to get a stay on the government decision "if required".
"This is dilution of the IIT envisioned by Pt Nehru," said Bharti.
"We will have a meeting soon and, if required, we will approach the court," Bharti, who is also a Supreme Court advocate and a former member of IIT Delhi senate, said.
He added that they felt cheated as the HRD Minister had assured them that the government would not proceed with any change if there is dissent. According to sources, except for the senates of IIT Roorkee and Chennai, all others were adverse to the proposal.
The new pattern of engineering entrance to be implemented from 2013 will have single engineering entrance for the IITs, National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) and other Central Educational Institutions, merging the JEE and AIEEE (All-India Engineering Entrance Examination).
The exam will have two papers, one 'main' and the other 'advance' entrance. The final marks will be calculated on the basis of the scores of these two exams, along with a fixed "weightage", or percentage, from the marks scored in the school board exam.
However, as scores vary in different school boards, the Class 12 board marks will first be "normalised", which is a process of equalising marks from different state and central boards.
Bharti, however, was of the view that the formula to normalise marks from different boards was faulty and it would only bring loss to students.
"Normalising scores is absolutely not possible. There have been reports from various agencies, including from the computer science department of IIT Delhi which says the formula is faulty and would rather do injustice," he said.
A senior professor from IIT Delhi, who did not wish to be named, echoed Bharti's views saying that the procedure has several loop holes.
"This pattern cannot stop coaching institutions, because the problem is lack of proper training in school. Students will keep going to coaching centres till the government does something about quality of education in schools," he said.
The professor also expressed apprehensions about the step being more political than beneficial to students.
"I wonder if the step is for the benefit of students, or politically motivated to show the government is working," he added.
The government has announced that the new pattern would come into force in 2013, and the next Lok Sabha elections are scheduled in 2014.
Anand Kumar, the founder of Super 30 -- a one-of-its-kind IIT entrance coaching institution for underprivileged students -- said the new common admission examination would further complicate the problem and make it more difficult for students, especially those studying in rural areas with poor school infrastructure.
"This new process will be cumbersome, and will add to the confusion and pressure on the students," Kumar said.
Kumar also said that the new pattern of 'main' and 'advance' entrance exams on the same day will add to the psychological burden on the students and also give the exam an "elitist" look as it may end up "excluding rural students".
Vice president at IIT-JEE coaching centre TIME institute Ajay Antony, however, said the new pattern will not make much difference and it is like old wine in a new bottle.
"All the difference is that they will now include board exam marks. Other than that, it is the same entrance exam if you see it closely," said Antony.