Thursday, June 14, 2012

Discussions on Govt's proposal for Common Entrance Test (CET) for IITs, NITs and other engineering schools

People have been discussing a lot on this and I felt it’s good to put up in this forum all those we’re having between us.

The contentious issues are as follows:
1. It’s proposed that the CET would have some weightage on the +2 scores of the various central and state boards – many people are not liking this
2. A common test for all schools may also dilute the brand of IIT – this is a very controversial topic
3. Few people feel govt. is interfering too much into IIT, the autonomy is being lost
4. There’s one interesting angle is being also pointed out by few – a conspiracy theory where politicians are alleged to be trying to destroy the brand IIT (Interesting)

These are discussions:

Anandaroop Bhattacharya

I also do not endorse the Common Test proposal.

However, during my short stay in IIT-B, I had some first hand experience of seeing the present JEE and interacting with some of the students. Let me simply say that the JEE today is not the same that we took in our times. Today's format is purely based on multiple-choice questions where there is hardly any scope for testing "funda", We were given credit for "how" we tried to solve a problem irrespective of whether we succeeded at arriving at the correct answer. That format is a thing of the past. To quote my good friend in KGP, Prof. Suman Chakraborty (one of the most brilliant young profs in KGP today - check his website) "In today's JEE, the students try to eliminate wrong options rather than trying to arrive at the solution." And this is the skill the coaching centres of today impart in the students, most notorious among them being the ones in Kota, Rajasthan.

So, while I do not endorse Sibal's proposal, I strongly feel that the present JEE needs a major revision

In a related context, I would also like to mention that perhaps very few examination systems in the world can match the JEE/GATE in the way it is conducted. It is really unbelievable that such a fair and efficient system is possible in a Govt. organization in India. In so many years, there has been only one instance of paper leak in JEE (1997) - compare that statistics with any other exam in our country including CAT!!


Kamalesh Ghosh

Folks, anything has a scope for improvement, no matter how good it is. Of course, IIT entrance could be too.

The question to be really asked is, was it higher priority to look at it than numerous other problems facing
the education sector as a whole? Do I need to point out those problems and the seriousness of their nature?

My point is, why has the HRD ministry taken so much interest lately in shaking up the whole IIT system
with various moves like this?  I am a total conspiracy theorist  in this matter.

I have a firm belief that a lobby of powerful politicians and maybe foreign powers too, have a  definite interest
in destroying/ diluting the IIT brand. Every step has been a measured one towards that goal, be it providing 27% obc
quota, opening up 10 more IITs or now this master stroke, to destroy the JEE altogether. Inclusion of board
marks means everything will go haywire as politician's children in Jharkhand and Bihar can get 99 % marks
in board exams if they ask their papa.

We really should try to understand the game behind the scenes and not view this thing as a simple administrative



I agree with you 100% on this. Actually, I had posted something very similar in the IITians FB page sometime last year. Essentially, it's almost identical to what you are alluding to. 

"Through contacts, money and muscle power, one can get his son or daughter a seat/job anywhere in India and maybe even to some of the top univs in the world. BUT NOT AT IIT or IIM. Our politicos find this extremely hard to digest!! Therefore, be it MM Joshi, Arjun Singh or Kapil Sibbal and irrespective of party lines, the effort to kill the JEE/GATE/CAT based system has been there for a long time. I hope like in previous instances, IITs push back strongly .... let's see."


Rahul Mehta


I fully support the points raised in the last two posts on this forum. In fact, I saw something similar in an article by Prof Kanchan Chowdhury. This article can be found here:

Quoting from this article,

For a long time, the IIT system has been the sore point of the moneyed and powerful persons of the country as it allows (apart from close to 50% socially disadvantaged) only the brilliant students to get into the system. Many rich and powerful have sent their children abroad because they could not get into the IITs. How long can this situation be allowed to continue!

Many private institutions have come up with large investments. Foreign Universities (not necessarily the best ones) would be allowed to set up their campuses on Indian soil very soon. How would they get competent faculty? Therefore, it has become absolutely necessary to frustrate the existing and future IIT faculty, particularly the younger teachers, by giving them a raw deal in salary and perks so that they finally decide to switch to systems that can serve the rich and the influential. The plot seems perfect in planning and execution. The first battle has been won by those opposed to IIT system. But Friends, we have to reach to the nation and the people, who are supreme and placed higher than even the Government that has let us down so badly, explaining them the present situation and projection of the future. That is our hope and the only hope to rescue IIT system from extinction.

Not to be offensive, but I think this pro JEE bias stinks of a certain kind of casteism - where people who have gone through the grind somehow feel they are superior to those who haven't. If the onus is entirely on the entrance exam to define a population that's capable of growing into competent engineers, it easily leads to an institution that can abdicate it's responsibility towards it's students, since the blessed ones will sail through and shine, no matter how inferior the quality of courses and teaching. 

The GRE or SAT, in spite of being  "easy" exams, still serve as a major part of the admission criteria to institutions with much higher standards than the IITs.

There is immense scope to democratize access to the IITs, and give our teenagers the quality of life they deserve. But whether that is the motive behind the HRD ministry's moves or not, I don't know.

No comments: