The NDA government has decided to roll back its predecessor’s decision to give 40 per cent weightage to an engineering aspirant’s Class XII Board marks for admission to the National Institutes of Technology, three years after it was introduced. The change, which will be effective from 2017, is expected to be notified soon.
Currently, the 31 NITs admit students based on all-India ranks prepared with 60 per cent weightage to a candidate’s JEE (Main) performance and 40 per cent weightage to his Class XII marks.
Watch: Weightage To Class XII marks For JEE Main To Be Dropped From 2017 (Click here)
According to sources, Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani, who is the chairperson of the NIT Council, has decided that from 2017, NITs will no longer use Board performance to calculate ranks. They will, instead, follow the IIT practice. The IITs grant admission only if a candidate, apart from qualifying JEE (Advanced), is either in the top 20 percentile of his or her school Board or has scored at least 75 per cent.
The Indian Express had reported on October 28, 2015, that an expert committee appointed by the government had found the UPA-II decision — taken by the then HRD minister Kapil Sibal to reduce the influence of coaching and bridge the gender and urban-rural divide in classrooms — had not served those purposes. Sibal had argued that according weightage to Class XII Board performance would help students focus on school education and wean them away from coaching classes.
A nine-member panel, headed by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing director Rajat Moona, studied the admission data of 31 NITs over the last three years and found that instead of registering a decline, the influence of coaching among candidates taking the JEE (Main) grew by four percentage points. The number of JEE (Main) examinees assisted by tuitions increased from approximately 15 per cent of the total in 2012 to 19 per cent in 2014.
When the NIT Council met in October last year, Irani did not approve any changes to JEE (Main) 2016 and deferred the decision for 2017. She is now learnt to have agreed to the panel’s suggestions for next year’s entrance test.
“Both IITs and NITs will follow the same system and admit students solely on the basis of the entrance examination. The threshold for Board marks will only be a pre-condition for admission,” said an official on the condition of anonymity.
As for the growing influence of the coaching industry, the official said, “Students go to coaching institutes because the JEE assesses candidates on advanced or tougher curriculum which is not covered in schools. We have got an assurance from IITs and NITs that they will prepare questions based on the Class XII syllabus prescribed by school Boards.”