They are worried that central board students are at a disadvantage

Less than a week before the Joint Entrance Examination (Main) begins on April 6, parents whose children have studied the central syllabus have raised concerns that their children are at a disadvantage. They have questioned the weightage given to Class 12 marks in the JEE. The JEE is conducted for admissions to Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), centrally funded technical institutions, and other participating institutions.

Under the JEE, the merit/rank list will be prepared based on 40 per cent weightage given to marks scored in Class 12 in State board or equivalent examinations, and 60 per cent weightage will be given to marks scored in the JEE (Main).

However, the JEE notification specifies that weightage to school board/equivalent examination marks will be considered “only after normalisation”, which means arriving at a method to be able to compare marking systems by individual boards.

In a letter addressed to the directors of IITs and officials of the JEE Cell of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), a parent, who did not want to be named, of an IIT seat aspirant questioned how the difficulty level of the State board exam could be compared to that of the central board exam.

‘Discrepancies’

Questioning the 60:40 formula, the parent pointed to discrepancies, including the varying levels of difficulty in State board and CBSE question papers, the overall choice for the State board students vs. the internal choice for the central syllabus students, the ‘blow-up’ (condensed) syllabus and the difference in scoring in practicals.

“Around two years ago, the Ministry of Human Resource Development announced that JEE will be the only entrance exam for engineering courses. That is why we shifted our son to the central syllabus from the State board in Class 11,” the parent said.

The Department of Pre-university Education introduced National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) books for PU students in the science stream two years ago.

However, a maths lecturer, who was in the committee to frame the ‘blow-up’ syllabus, said that it only highlighted which parts should be stressed on, and there was no difference between the PU and central syllabi.

‘Slight advantage’

The lecturer, working in a centrally funded technical institute, said observations made last year after the ‘normalisation of scores’ was introduced did point to a slight advantage that State board students enjoyed as their board exam scores were higher. “But, the normalisation tables used are not in the public domain. So, even we will not be able to give a technically correct answer. But students do not have much control over the 40 per cent marks,” the lecturer said.