The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have shot down the government’s proposal to permit the National Testing Agency (NTA) to conduct JEE (Advanced). The NTA, approved by the union cabinet on November 10, is envisioned as the largest exam-conducting body in the country. In a meeting of IIT directors on December 15 in Chennai, the institutes decided against the NTA’s involvement in JEE (Advanced), which is the gateway to securing a seat in the 23 premier engineering schools.
“Handing over the entrance test makes little sense as it would not lessen the burden of the IITs. The agency would have had to keep coming back to our faculty to set the question papers,” said the director of one of the seven older IITs, who did not wish to be identified.
“Let’s say, even if the NTA were to take over JEE (Advanced), IITs will not give up the prerogative to send at least one of its teachers to every exam centre to review the choice of centres,” he added.
IITs have always been protective of their entrance test. During the UPA-II government, when Kapil Sibal was the Human Resource Development Minister, they had refused to merge their test with AIEEE (used by the National Institutes of Technology for admission) to make a single common entrance examination for admission to all centrally run engineering institutes.
The latest decision by the IITs could have a bearing on whether the Indian Institutes of Management decide to part with the Common Admission Test or CAT.
In its first year, the NTA will take over all entrance examinations currently being organised by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), including UGC’s National Eligibility Test (NET), Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) and National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET).
Although several governments in the past have proposed and, subsequently, shelved the idea of establishing the NTA, the proposal materialised under the current government after the CBSE requested the HRD Ministry to relieve it of the additional burden of conducting entrance tests. CBSE is an affiliating school board with the primary responsibility of conducting Class X and XII Board examinations.