IIT, now a more distant dream?

IIT, now a more distant dream?

Study wise

After Delhi University, the premiere Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) are gearing up for big change.

Policy divide: Teachers and IIT aspirants alike are up in arms against the proposed changes in the entrance exam pattern.

The HRD minister Kapil Sibal has declared that from next year onwards there wouldn’t be one IIT-JEE but two exams JEE-Main and JEE-Advanced.

JEE Main will be a screening exam only and give 50 per cent weightage to Std XII board results.

The JEE-Advanced results, thereafter, will determine an aspirant’s admission to not only the IITs but all the government-run engineering colleges in India. In short, there will be no separate exam for admission to non-IIT engineering institutes from 2013 onwards.

Even though the minister put forth these changes with the stated aim of lessening the pressure on engineering aspirants, restoring the importance of school board exams and reducing the importance of engineering coaching institutes, teachers, IIT aspirants and their parents say that it will do the exact opposite.

In fact, the IIT Alumni Association has declared that it may appeal to court against the proposed move.

The first point of objection is 50 per cent weightage to Std XII board exam results at the JEE-Main level. At the moment one requires 60 per cent marks in Std XII to be able to sit for IIT-JEE exam, but no weightage is given in the IIT-JEE result as such. BK Mishra, academic director at IIT Study circle, a coaching institute says, “This is not right.

There are so many state board students who are not able to do well in Std XII for various reasons but have a scientific brain and do very well in engineering exams.

Besides state board students, even CBSE students who are not very good in languages score poorly in Std XII but due to their mathematical and analytic capabilities come out with flying colours in IIT-JEE. Why disadvantage these students?”

He recalls the case of one of his students who scored mere 45 per cent in Std XII Bihar board exams but did well in the IIT entrance and is today a senior official in Reliance.

Professor Rajiv Singh, who teaches Physics at Narayana, another coaching institute in Delhi, fully agrees with Mishra and cites another problem area in Sibal’s proposal. “As per the new pattern, there will be only one exam for all government engineering institutes.

What if a child, for any reason, is unable to give or do well in this one exam? He will be left with no other option like AIEEE, UPTech or anything like that. Moreover, there are only two attempts allowed in IIT-JEE. So if the child is unable to do well in these two exams, he or she will have to forget his or her engineering dreams for life.”

He makes another relevant point against the new model, “With the IIT-JEE exam splitting into two, students will feel the need for more training, and coaching institutes will mushroom all over the country as they have for UPSC. Only the minister knows what he thought when saying that this model will con­trol the growth of coaching institutes.”

Besides teachers, IIT aspirants and their parents are also unhappy with the proposed pattern. Yamini Kandpal, a student of Std XII at Holy Child (Vasant Vihar) says, “I think my stress levels have already shot up.

Till now, I was concentrating more on IIT preparation than Std XII exams as the syllabus patterns are very different. But now, I will first have to focus on Std XII boards and then IIT. In fact, my father has told me, I can drop a year after XII and prepare for IIT separately, but dropping a year was not really what I wanted to do.”

Her father GB Kandpal adds, “It might cost me a bit more - extra coaching and the loss of one year of my child, which I hope will not happen but the ultimate aim is to make her a successful engineer. The authorities have their policies.

We will just have to work harder and find a way around them.” So much for the dream of engineering.

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