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Ending a month-long row over introduction of a common entrance test (CET) for undergraduate engineering courses, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) on Wednesday, 28th June arrived at a compromise, whereby class XII scores are used to select candidates, while the tech schools continue to conduct their own admission tests. The new format is expected to make entrance in to the top tech schools tougher, but has emerged as a half-way house between the HRD ministry keen on increasing the importance of board exams and IITs not wanting to cede their autonomy. According to the new formula, agreed to at a meeting of the IIT Council, all aspirants will give the JEE-Main exam. Of the approximately 12 lakh candidates, only the top 1.5 lakh will qualify to appear for the JEE-Advanced test.
The two tests will be held on separate days within four-six weeks of each other. All 1.5 lakh students will be given a score and an All India Rank. However, they will be selected for IITs not just on the basis of their rank in the Advanced test but also their board marks. For this, students will have to in the top 20 percentile of their state or central board. So going by last year's scores, the cut-off percentage for a student appearing in CBSE board will be 78%, while for one appearing in the Uttar Pradesh state board will be 65%-66%. This is expected to standardize varying standards across central and state boards. The compromise does seem laboured but this is what IITs will have to settle for. The original government proposal, backed by the IIT Council, drew flak for messing the admission format without achieving the professed objective of reducing dependence on tuitions. The ministry's plan to introduce `one nation, one test' has been only partially fulfilled although the new format means board scores will reflect in a candidate's selection. On May 28, the IIT Council had announced that entrance for IIT will be based on a new format replacing the 60% cut-off for school marks with a 50:50 weightage on the class XII score and JEE Main. The merit list for IIT was to be based on the Advance test. The formula for centrally funded engineering institutions, including NITs and IIITs, was 40% weightage to class XII score and 30% weightage each for JEE Main and Advanced. The Council's decision and consequently its powers have been challenged by IIT-Kanpur and Delhi Senates in the last few weeks with the institutes declaring they will hold their own entrance tests. HRD minister Kapil Sibal did not attend Wednesday's, 28th June, 2012 meeting though he is chairman of the Council. Sources said his absence was intended to send out a message that there was no political interference in IIT's decision-making process. Reacting to the IIT Council decision, Sibal said, “There is still a long way to go but I'm sure that all stakeholders will work towards reducing influence of coaching institutes, give importance to school board exams, bring down the multiple exams and ensure there is no occasion for charging capitation fee. The present decision is a step in the right direction. I don't think the Council has achieved all four things but I hope it will be able to in the next three-four years.” The Councils of NITs and IIITs will also meet to discuss the new formula. Sources said that since IITs were holding their separate exam the earlier formula could be changed giving board marks 40%-50% weightage while the remaining would be given to the JEE-Main. When asked if the new formula had been discussed with the senates, IIT-Kanpur director Sanjay Dhande said, “This proposal has been discussed with senate representatives in a meeting in Lucknow and one in Delhi today, 28th June, 2012. They have supported it.” All India IIT Faculty Federation A. K. Mittal said that the proposal should be brought before the Senates. “We have no reservations about the implementation of this new format entrance test from 2013 but it must be brought before the senates for their approval,” he said.
Courtesy: Times of India
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