Joint Entrance Exam- The Confusion Prevails - Shobhit Agarwal
IITs- The toughest• The only component of the education system that had managed to escape the clutches of the politicians for decades has been the Joint Entrance Exam to the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-JEE).• For decades, the exam, regarded by many as the toughest entrance exam in the country, has filtered a few thousand students from lakhs of aspirants, and deemed them qualified to study in the most reputed and prestigious institute in the country – the IITs.• But as fate would have it, the luck has finally run out on IIT-JEE, and if the honourable HRD minister, Mr. Kapil Sibal, has his way, it will be scrapped away altogether.
From Mr. Arjun to Mr. Kapil• The reign of Mr. Arjun Singh as the education minister saw the education system in the country sinking to new lows.• From forwarding the 27% reservation quota in education institutes to granting deemed university status, his ministership was a perfect demonstration of disasters.• When Kapil Sibal replaced him, he invoked a breath of new life into the system, by making the tenth standard board exams optional.• This was one of his first moves, it is a move in the right direction, helping to reduce stress and exam-phobia from the lives of 15-16 year old students.
The new system!1. Doing away with IIT-JEE and AIEEE. Rather, have a common entrance test (to be called as JEE) for both, which will short- list candidates to all the centrally funded engineering colleges across the country like the IITs, NITs (National Institute of Technology), IIITs (Indian Institute of Information Technology).2. The JEE is to give a substantial weightage to class 12 marks – 40% in case of NITs and IIITs and 50% in case of IITs3. The exam will be held in two parts – main and advanced. While the first part will be an aptitude-based test, the second part will check a student’s knowledge of the subject in depth.
4. For admission to the IITs, a composite score will be generated on the basis of the class 12 board marks and the performance in JEE mains. The top 50,000 will only be screened for the JEE advance, based on their performance in which will they get selected to the IITs5. For admission to NITs and IIITs, the composite score will be generated based on the class 12 board marks, and the marks scored in both JEE mains and advance.
Reasons?1. Students often tend to sideline the board exams in lieu of IIT- JEE.2. The growing reliance on the coaching classes will be reduced.3. And most importantly, it will help reduce the burden on the students, who are stressed by the high number of entrance exams after the board exams.
The loopholes!• Firstly, since in the present system, the focus is only on the performance in the entrance exams, students can channelize all their focus on them, without worrying about the board exams, where they only need to score 60% marks.• It is not a hidden fact from anyone that the difference in the level of class 12 board exam papers and that of IIT-JEE is ridiculously huge.• And so, a student merely preparing for the board exams doesn’t stand a chance of cracking the IIT-JEE.• The new system will further pile on the pressure on the students, and will now force them to perform well in the board exams as well as the JEE.
Dropped out to clear JEE?• And finally, the concept of a single exam will only see a rise in the number of students dropping an academic year to prepare for the JEE.• In the present system, if a student doesn’t perform well in the IIT-JEE, he still has AIEEE to look forward to.• But in the proposed system, if a student fares badly in JEE, be it mains or advanced, then his chances of making it to the government-aided institutes reduce significantly.• All that he will be left with is to drop an academic year, and again prepare for the JEE, because not everyone can afford the costly private education.
Students not spared!• The proposed system has found a few takers, but it has found a greater number of detractors.• Moreover, they are of the opinion that the new system will dilute the quality of the student intake, which will in turn affect the IIT brand.• With the combined forces of IIT-alumni and IIT senate on one side and Mr. Sibal on the other, that there have been talks of the case going to the Supreme Court.• The people in power haven’t spared a thought for the students who will be writing JEE in 2013 and how are they to prepare for such an exam?
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