A step in the right direction

A step in the right direction

New pattern

A step in the right direction

From 2013, admissions to the IITs, NITs and IIITs will be based on scores in the Board exams, coupled with scores in ISEET, a joint entrance exam common for all engineering courses. Sharad Awasthi details the changes that can be expected and their significance

There has been a lot of noise for the past few months about the changes expected in the way our 17-18 year-olds compete with each other to get into IITs/ NITs/ IIITs.  

Beginning 2013, student admissions to the IITs, NITs and IIITs will be based on board scores and ranks in the Indian Science-Engineering Eligibility Test (ISEET). As per reports in newspapers, ISEET will have two sections: One section is expected to be aptitude-based and the other section is expected to be based on questions from Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics of Class XI and XII level. For selection, there will be weightage given to a student’s performance in the board examination, in addition to his ISEET scores.

What prism do we look through to evaluate the new pattern?

Needless to say, the entire system exists to pick the best and most suitable young scholars who have the aptitude for engineering as a career. In addition, the student has to be at the centre of all the mechanisms of selection including factors such as stress, flexibility, various choices that can be provided to her/him, etc.  So, the only prism that we must look through to evaluate the new pattern should be one of students’ welfare and the ability of the pattern to select the best candidates.
Let us analyse the new pattern using the above prism.

Lessening of stress

I believe that the new method will lead to lesser stress to the students as it proposes one examination in place of IITJEE, AIEEE and State level Engineering entrance examinations. As you might have noticed, students will be relieved of the torture of taking many entrance examinations during the April–May period, just after their XII board examination.

Continues to deliver candidates with the best engineering aptitude

The apprehension that the quality of selection to the IITs might get reduced is entirely misplaced.  Even if we compare the rank list of IITJEE and AIEEE for the last three years, we will find that a very large percentage of candidates are the same in both the rank lists.

In alignment with real world demands

Another striking feature of the new method is the inclusion of aptitude in ISEET.  In the real world, all top engineers, scientists and technocrats are expected to have sound skills in areas such as analytical thinking, logical reasoning and critical reasoning in addition to a sound understanding of science and mathematics.  Hence, inclusion of the aptitude test will lead to wholesome testing of candidates for entrance to IITs/ NITs/IIITs and the step should be welcomed by one and all.

Aptitude test — Common thread for many careers

We all are also aware that given the huge gap between the demand and supply of seats in top colleges, the percentage of success continues to be abysmally low much to the disadvantage of youngsters.  In such a scenario, it is only fair that the students spread their choices a little broader than just one career, say, engineering.   
With the inclusion of aptitude testing in ISEET, students with more or less the same kind of preparation for aptitude testing can appear for multiple examinations including that of the National Law School, Bachelors in Management etc. This comes as an immense benefit that should cheer students and parents alike.

Performance in the Boards

Last but not the least, the new system allocates weightage to marks in the XII Board. Allocating 40 per cent or more weightage to board marks will bring in greater emphasis on XI and XII studies and incidentally, reduce the tendency to rush to outstation coaching hubs that have perpetrated the practice of ‘dummy schools’.  
In a nutshell, the new method of engineering entrance is, indeed, a welcome change.  As an IITian and a teacher, I welcome this new method of admission even though some aspects may still be imperfect.  Alas, we live in an imperfect world and I would only worry about the direction, which in this case is truly right!

(The writer is Head, Academics, CL Educate)