Will the joint counselling for admission under AIEEE and IIT-JEE enable filling of all vacancies in NITs and IITs?

There has always been a consensus amongst progressive faculty members of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and National Institutes of Technology (NIT) that the separate admission and counselling systems of these institutions of national character must be done away with.

The admission process to IITs and NITs in 2010-11 is expected to herald a path-breaking change. Though with separate examination systems, the admissions to IITs and NITs are to be made through single window counselling.

The software for the common counselling has been readied, official sources hinted to Education Plus. It is only a beginning and the idea of a common examination for IIT-JEE and AIEEE in the interests of bright students hailing from the rural and semi-urban places is being received with enthusiasm by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, it is learnt. The new single window system of counselling will be viewed with huge relief by the Central Counselling Board (CCB) of AIEEE (All India Engineering Entrance Examination) in the wake of the teething problems it encountered in implementing the ‘Online Off campus' counselling process introduced in 2009-10 by the Central Board of Secondary Education for admitting candidates to the NITs, IITs, and a handful of top-notch deemed universities, NIT teachers say.

Not successful

The ‘Online Off-campus' system of counselling was introduced with the intention of obviating the need for students to travel from one part of the country to another, but it did not serve the desired purpose completely since unpredictable developments crept up. At the start of the process, students did enjoy the convenience of selecting their desired colleges and courses from the comfort of their homes.

The system was conceptualised to enable students to go to the allotted institution just a few days before commencement of the academic session. The system, in fact, looked very promising in the first two or three rounds of counselling by when all the seats were filled. But subsequently the blocked seats began falling vacant. The reason being that the students who had blocked the seats in the initial rounds of AIEEE counselling and later made it to the IITs did not apparently pay attention in intimating the same to CCB in time. This resulted in confusions in the process which got prolonged till the latter part of October — a full two months after the commencement of the academic year. Obviously, students faced problems in catching up and getting themselves ready for the semester examinations in December. And there are still hundreds of unfilled vacancies in the 20 NITs across the country, it is learnt.

Robust system needed

Existence of vacancies in NITs that have exalted infrastructure and faculty members just for want of a robust system is an injustice to deserving students, NIT teachers point out. Also, the fifty per cent Home State quota in NITs was altered. After the initial rounds of counselling, admission of students in the subsequent rounds was based on the central AIEEE pool. As a result, in some NITs, including those in New Delhi, Allahabad and Warangal, where the culture of entrance coaching rules the roost, the composition of Home State students is between sixty and eighty per cent. Ironically, these NITs now sport a regional character. By design, NITs were meant to depict a national character. Ironically, the design became unstable after the Regional Engineering Colleges were transformed into National Institutes of Technology.

Joint mechanism

It is against this backdrop that the NITs wish the joint mechanism they have evolved with the IITs to become a major success. The joint counselling for admission under AIEEE and IIT-JEE will enable filling of all vacancies in NITs and IITs without any scope for confusion. For instance, the possibility will be created for students who have appeared for IIT-JEE as well as AIEEE to opt for a branch of choice in an NIT nearer home rather than an available branch in a far-off IIT with absolute clarity of mind, teachers reason out. Since the syllabi is more or less similar for all the boards, the IITs and NITs are stated to be pursuing the idea of common admission mechanism in right earnest to serve the purposes of providing opportunities for rural students, and making evaluation easier.

Official sources said that in the near future, the Plus Two performance will be considered as the basis for admission to IITs and NITs. The objective, informed sources said, was to give due weightage for better understanding of the subject. There is unanimity among the NITs and IITs that objective type tests for which the coaching centres prepare the candidates strenuously for years together do not determine their actual comprehension of the subjects.

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