JEE may be tinkered to placate irate IITs

JEE may be tinkered to placate irate IITs

HRD ministry to soft sell its one-test plan for engineering

With the Senates of two Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) - Kanpur and Delhi - opposing the government’s ‘one nation, one test’ proposal for admissions, there are indications that some changes may be affected in the new format of the joint entrance examination (JEE) to end the impasse.

According to highly placed sources, the Human Resource Development Ministry is re-visiting the proposed 2013 test format for the selection of students for IITs, to incorporate “suitable” changes and end the logjam. Two alternative test formats have been suggested for incorporation in the proposed IIT-JEE.

According to the IIT council’s decision, the proposed test has to be conducted in two parts—JEE-Main and JEE-Advance. A suggestion has been made that only those students, who are screened for IITs after JEE-Main, be allowed to take JEE-Advanced. This was discussed at the meeting of vice chancellors of deemed to be universities held here on Monday.  

Another suggestion was that instead of giving equal weightage to class XII board marks and performance of candidates in JEE-Main, top 20 percentile holders of various school boards and their performance in JEE-Main should be screened for taking JEE-Advance test, which will be solely for admissions to IITs. This would mean that students who score less than 79 per cent may not qualify to apply for admission to IITs.

The argument is that this system fulfills the goal of giving importance to the school boards, while avoiding the pitfalls of normalisation. However, the Ministry is not very comfortable with this suggestion as it would create barriers.

The Ministry, after examining both suggestions, would place it before the IIT council meet on Wednesday. The Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 has empowered the IIT council as the final deciding authority on matters related to IITs, including admission to the elite technical institutes. But, the Ministry is not willing to precipitate a situation that could break up the IIT system, sources said.

More the merrier

The HRD Ministry is also reaching out to private technical institutions to bring them on board the ‘one nation, one test’ plan. At a meeting with vice chancellors of the deemed to be universities here, the Ministry urged them to participate in the JEE to be conducted next year. It mooted the idea of admitting students on the basis of the school board results and the JEE-Main. 

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