In what could lead to major changes in the admission process for IITs and NITs, the HRD Ministry has received positive public feedback on recommendations of a government-appointed panel, including introduction of a compulsory SAT-like aptitude test for aspirants, no weightage to school board marks and a single entrance exam.
The ministry had made the report of the Ashok Mishra Committee public last month for further consultation with stakeholders. The deadline for sending feedback was November 30.
According to sources, of the 100-odd responses received by the government, 67 have supported the removal of weightage given to Class XII marks at the time of admissions and nine have opposed the suggestion. Similarly, 23 are for introduction of a national-level aptitude test for engineering aspirants and two against it. Twenty-six respondents have favoured a single entrance examination — instead of the current two-tier test — for admissions to IITs, NITs and other centrally funded institutes.
Although the ministry has not taken a final decision, the feedback could push the government to announce another makeover for the admission process at the top engineering schools. However, no changes will be introduced for 2016-17.
The Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) underwent a series of changes in 2013 after the then HRD Minister Kapil Sibal convinced engineering schools to give weightage to a candidate’s school performance. This was done to help students focus on their school education and wean them away from coaching classes. But a review by the institutions three years later showed the decision had made little difference to the coaching industry, in fact it increased its influence.
Both IITs and NITs are now in favour of scrapping the weightage to Class XII marks. The Ashok Mishra committee was set up to study this proposal and also the feasibility of conducting a single entrance test.
The panel also suggested that the candidates should take an aptitude test to prove their inclination for science and innovative thinking. Passing this test will be a prerequisite for appearing for JEE. The test, designed to reduce the coaching culture, could be offered two or more times in a year.