Improved formula

Improved formula

The new system of selection is an improvement.

The compromise over the format of the recently announced common entrance test for admission to engineering institutions has retained some of the basic ideas behind the proposed change but has refined them to suit the requirements of a higher eligibility bar for the Indian Institutes of Technology. IITs had objected to the admission system proposed by the HRD ministry and had even threatened to go to court. It seems the consensus evolved now has averted a confrontation. The idea of a single examination, instead of multiple tests at different locations which has created difficulties for students and parents, has been largely accepted. The only difference is that it would now involve different levels of testing the skills and aptitude of students.

The newly finalised admission process consists of a main exam, which will serve as a screening test to shortlist 1.5 lakh students for an advanced test for IIT admissions.  Since IITs will have control over the format of the advanced test and will conduct them they will not have any complaints about losing their autonomy in selections. Admissions to the IITs will be based on the rank achieved in the advanced test subject to the condition that the students have to be in the top 20 percentile group of their respective school board exams. The combination of excellence in school board exams and in the entrance test may ensure that the students do not neglect their school studies. The earlier proposal for a specific weightage for school board marks had led to the apprehension of the IITs that it may dilute their eligibility standards. This was because there was a possibility that students who did not do well in the entrance test could secure admission on the basis of higher board exam marks. Since the quality of various board exams is uneven,  this was a genuine concern.

While the new system may be an improvement over the older one in some respects, it may not greatly benefit the less privileged students and address the problem of the influence of coaching institutions in the admission stakes. Since the advanced  test is still an IITJEE in itself, though derived  from a common test for all aspirants, there would still be demand for coaching. The demand for coaching for board exams also may rise as only the top 20 per cent can secure IIT admissions. The solution is to improve the standards of teaching in schools across the country and school boards.

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