IIT admission board meets today amid exam angst

The cloud of uncertainty over admissions to elite Indian Institutes of Technology has thickened.

Written by Kiritika Suneja | New Delhi | Published: June 23, 2012 1:22:46 am

The cloud of uncertainty over admissions to the elite Indian Institutes of Technology has thickened. In the backdrop of two leading IITs – Kanpur and Delhi – opposing the common entrance exam proposed by the government and two more seen joining their ranks,the IIT joint admission board (JAB) meets in the capital on Saturday to discuss the way forward. The development is crucial because it is the JAB which conducts the IIT joint entrance exams.

The meeting also gains significance because sources said IIT Bombay and Kharagpur too may shortly join Kanpur and Delhi.

On Thursday,IIT-Delhi rejected the single entrance test proposal,deciding to conduct its own entrance exam from next year,following in the footsteps of IIT-Kanpur.

The crisis brewing in the government over the matter can also be gauged by the fact that a meeting of the IIT council,the apex government-nominated body which has decided on holding common entrance tests,is also scheduled on June 27.

“The uncertainty faced by the student community,consequent to the resolutions of the senates of IIT Kanpur and IIT Delhi,requires to be addressed. Consequently,a special meeting of the IIT council is being convened on June 27,” the human resource ministry said in a statement.

The IIT council is headed by the HRD minister and includes directors of the seven old IITs. The directors also head the senate bodies of their respective institutions. The senates,as per IIT Act of 1961,are the highest decision-making bodies on all academic matters of the IITs. The council only holds an advisory role.

The HRD ministry,however takes a different view,pointing to an ordinance which states that the council is supreme in matters like holding entrance examinations.

The senate’s role,on the other hand,comes only in matters relating to courses and examinations within IITs – which means,examinations after the students have entered the institutes through the entrance exams.

Sources said that 130 deemed universities having engineering colleges currently not under the common entrance exam plan may also be brought in. In that case,there could be opposition from these universities also.

“Any such move would be detrimental to our autonomy and we will oppose it. The government must consider the issues of the private sector and deemed universities before taking any drastic policy decision like in the case of management programmes last year and the common entrance test for technical institutes this year,” said H Chaturvedi,alternate president,Education Promotion Society for India (EPSI),an association of technical and management institutes.

Deemed universities like VIT Vellore,BITS Pilani,Thapar University and Manipal University conduct their own engineering entrance exams. Whether the entrance exam for the deemed universities would be different from the CET for IITs will be clear early next week when HRD minister Kapil Sibal meets them.

“We have rejected the IIT council’s proposal and will conduct an entrance exam similar to the one in 2012 because we are worried about the students. No drastic changes will be done and we are joining hands with like-minded IITs. It is not the IITs’ concern to follow political mandates,” IIT Faculty Federation president Sanjeev Sanghi told FE.

According to senate members,the council can only advise the IITs and the senate has the right not to join the exam.

“The IITs will not cater to political whims and fancies of introducing the CET from 2013 as general elections are set to be held in 2014,” Sanghi added.

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