The National Institutes of Technology (NIT) Council on Friday accorded `in-principle’ approval for introduction of revised NIT Merit Award, with tuition fee waiver on graded basis, to all the students who ranked in the top bracket of the All India Engineering Entrance Exam (AIEEE) conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) and joined the NIT.

Besides enlarging the scope of the beneficiaries of the Merit Awards, the Council also proposes exclusive scholarships for meritorious students from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. The revised Merit Award system would be put in place from the next academic year.

The NIT Council that met here under the chairmanship of the Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal also deliberated upon various policy issues plaguing the NIT system in relation to the appointment of faculty and non-faculty staff, and Career Advancement Scheme in respect to teaching staff. It also decided that four-tier flexible system for faculty appointment, as exists in the IIT system, would be introduced.

The Council, attended by the chairpersons and Board of Governors of NIT, also endorsed the T. Ramasami Committee report that has recommended a common entrance test to undergraduate programmes in engineering, technology and science. The report has already been adopted by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Council while the Indian Institutes of Science Engineering and Research (IISERs) will also have to endorse it and the States taken on board before it is implemented.

The Ramasami Committee report envisages a mix of school and national level test performance for entry to undergraduate courses which is expected to reduce multiplicity of entrance tests and dependency on coaching. The exam structure would be broadly based on two elements - the score of a student in class XII and his score in a SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test)-type exam.

While class XII results would test the students’ academic abilities, SAT would test his/her general attributes. On the basis of the two scores, an all-India merit list would be prepared and every student would enter college or a university depending on his position in that list. The new system is likely to be introduced in 2013.