Though there may be criticism and mixed reactions, but Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal’s suggestion to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to consider elevation of entry level eligibility for taking the IIT-JEE from 2011 has received support from experts who feel that it came about the right time.
They say that the minister’s take on the topic is akin to what experts within the IIT system have been articulating over the past few years.
“In fact, this is a positive change on the part of the government. Four years ago, when the IIT standing council had recommended that only students with an aggregate score of 85% and above in Plus Two board examinations should be permitted to appear for the JEE, the government rejected it and fixed 60% marks as the eligibility criteria,” recalled a director of an IIT.
According to reports, there is rising concern among the IITs that they are not getting the best students, for only those “conditioned by coaching centres” come out with stellar performance in the nerve-wracking JEE. Experts opine that training at coaching centres is usually “numerically heavy” and students don’t learn the basic concepts there. Thus, the knowledge gained by students in the science and mathematics subjects at the higher secondary level is almost completely ignored in the selection process.
According to Professor M Anandakrishnan, chairman of the board of governors of IIT Kanpur and Rajasthan, a higher eligibility criteria of an aggregate score of 80% or above in Plus Two, will considerably transform the learning priorities of aspirants.
“A major trend now is that children neglect higher secondary school education and prepare only for the JEE. If you raise the Plus Two eligibility norms, they will be forced to concentrate on school education as well,” he argued.
“This will also reduce the number of applications for JEE being unnecessarily processed now. I don’t think the higher eligibility scores will affect rural students as 80% is a reasonable figure to attain,” he added.