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The IITs are, at present, the strongest card India can play if it is to break through into the league of top-ranking knowledge powers. But it now appears that drastic changes to the IIT admission process were approved without first getting the institutions to buy in. As a result IIT Kanpur has unfurled the flag of revolt, and IIT Delhi and IIT Bombay may soon follow suit. Indeed, IITs and their alumni have been vociferous in their protest against the Union HRD ministrys decision to change the admission process and give significant weightage to class XII board exam results.
That the academic senate of IIT Kanpur has adopted a resolution to conduct its own entrance test in 2013 highlights the strong resistance against the government diktat. The secret behind the success of the IITs is their autonomy in terms of conducting admission exams, structuring curricula and evaluating their students. Take these away and IITs won’t be much different from the garden variety government-run technical institute, churning out unemployable graduates. Therefore, if IITs are objecting to changes in the admission process, they need to be listened to. Otherwise the HRD ministry could be destroying the very system that has allowed the IITs to emerge as a byword for excellence. If IITs today are contemplating moving court against the proposed changes, it is because they have been pushed into this position. As it is, they are burdened with increasing reserved quotas in the admission of students. IIT JEE is one of the rare public examinations in the country that centre on application of concepts rather than rote learning. Replacing it with a system that stresses class XII board exams will dilute the quality of students getting admitted into the IITs. If the system aren’t broke and is actually producing excellent results for the country why fix it The real problem is the governments penchant for over-regulating education, turning it into one of the last redoubts of the licence raj. This only creates numerous opportunities for corruption and politicisation. For example, by laying down mechanical and stringent criteria for schools, the Right To Education Act incentivises an inspector raj that defeats the very purpose of the legislation. For the sake of the IITs and boosting education standards across the board, deregulation, autonomy and competition need to be made fundamental pillars of our education policy. If the government really wants to curb stress for students it must narrow the glaring gap between demand and supply for quality educational institutions, rather than mess around with the few IITs that exist.
Courtesy: Times of India
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