Making it to the top 20 percentile bracket of Class XII board is the key.
Even as the controversy surrounding the 2013 IIT admissions appeared to be settling down, the new proposals are likely to have long-term implications for both students and the IITs.
The new pattern for the IIT-JEE examination, to be put into practice next year, makes it essential for students to figure in the top 20 percentile bracket of the Class XII Boards. So, even if a student figures in the list of top 500 students, but does not find a place in the top 20 percentile of his/her board, he/she does not stand a chance. The NGO, Forum for Fairness in Education, and parents of Class XII students have submitted a petition in court, challenging the new IIT pattern on several grounds.
Pressure on students
Many parents say the new format applies a lot of pressure on students. The formula devised by the IIT Council on June 27 stipulated that the top 1.5 lakh students, across all categories in the JEE Main, would be eligible to appear for the JEE Advanced Test. While all students will be allowed to write the Main Advanced exams, the final rank will be subject to being in the 20 percentile of their boards.
“The government should consider the case of students who have been preparing for the IIT entrance for the last two years. An abrupt change in the pattern will not give them time to mentally prepare themselves for the new pattern,” said a parent.
Senior IIT professors and alumni however prefer this format to the ‘single test’ mooted by the HRD ministry. “If you have some 20 to 25 lakh aspirants, then the only option is an objective machine readable test. You can’t differentiate among students on the basis of such a test,” an IIT Madras professor said.
There is also a wide spectrum of views among the IITs. The IIT Bombay Senate, for instance, while accepting the new format, suggested only 50,000 should qualify from the JEE Main to the Advanced exam instead of the proposed 1,50,000. The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi has suggested some modifications by recommending the percentile-based ranking for 2013, while retaining the existing eligibility condition for students who passed their board examination in 2012.
The other cause of concern is the way to ensure standards in evaluation considering there are over 40 school boards across the country. Since different boards follow different systems of evaluation, the minimum marks a student needs to qualify for the top 20 percentile from his or her board could vary widely from State to State.
So, does it mean a Tamil Nadu student who scores 85 per cent in his Class XII exams will be shut out of IIT admission next year while a student from another State with 49 per cent will remain eligible, asks Raghuvir Jain, an IIT trainer. This is a possible fallout of the rule that makes only students from the top 20 percentile of their respective boards eligible for IIT admission from next year, he adds.
The Council of Boards of School Education has released the board-wise top 20 percentile cut-offs for this year to provide an idea about how much IIT aspirants will need to score next year as scoring patterns tend not to change much from year to year. Experts predict that students from high-scoring State boards such as Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, might be at a slight disadvantage compared to their counterparts from West Bengal, Maharashtra or Assam who have stricter evaluations.
There is a difference with respect to the number of students, syllabus, question papers, and leniency in giving marks in every board which cannot be ignored, says Mr. Jain. “Deserving students should not lose out just because they studied in a better or smaller school board,” he adds.