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The common exam for entrance to all engineering institutes from IITs and to local engineering colleges seems to have hit rough weather due to opposition from some IIT managements. From 2013, the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) was all set to replace all other engineering entrance tests across the country with most state governments giving their consent. However some IITs and their student senates have expressed displeasure over the way the change was being initiated.
Highly placed sources in IIT Council, the apex governing body for all 15 IITs, confirmed to TOI that differences had cropped up in their discussions about JEE with the government. Director of a renowned IIT said on condition of anonymity that the government was pushing through the changes without taking every stakeholder into confidence. "The government should have first come to IIT Council and known their concerns. The Council would have then reached out to all IITs, where academic and students' senate would have given their views. Once we take everyone's views, only then could a consensus be reached. You just can't walk in one fine day and order things changed," he said. A senior faculty member of another IIT said, "Our institutes have been doing great for over half a century and now suddenly the government thinks there is a problem. We don't oppose or question the government's intention for a common exam but the methodology is wrong. IITs are being asked to give minimum 40 per cent weightage to board exams for admissions which is not right. Cheating during board exams is rampant in many states. They cannot be taken as a common benchmark. IITs must retain the right to decide the criteria for admissions else the standard will go down." In certain IITs, the students' senates too have opposed the new JEE citing dilution of admission criteria and conveyed the same to their board of governors. There have been reports that the All India IIT Faculty Federation has written to HRD ministry opposing the government's approach but ministry officials deny having received any such letter. While HRD minister Kapil Sibal was unavailable for comment, his private secretary Uma Shankar said everyone concerned had been consulted. Shankar said, "Our ministry has tried to get views from faculty, students and other stakeholders to reach a consensus. For a whole month, we had a special website where all stakeholders were asked to blog their views. I am myself an IITian and hold my institute in high esteem but we have to find a solution to the problems that plague our system." The problems according to Shankar are of having too many entrance exams and an education system (for Std XI and XII) that functions outside the school system itself. "There are about 180 exams in the country for engineering admissions. Everyone now depends on coaching centres and ignores board exams. Students get admitted to a college that discreetly ties up with a coaching institute and marks their attendance. Students don't go to college hence teachers don't teach. Is this the kind of education we want," asked Shankar. A meeting has been scheduled on April 24 between the government and a special committee comprising select IIT directors.
Courtesy: Time of India
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