R. Krishnamoorthy

AIEEE ranks secured by Tamil Nadu students have always been low

TIRUCHI: Last month’s decision of the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development to fill 50 per cent of the seats in the National Institutes of Technology under the Other States Quota on the basis of the all-India ranking in the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) in place of the State-wise ranking has eliminated scope for Tamil Nadu students to get admission to the other NITs.

The AIEEE ranks secured by Tamil Nadu students have always been low, as in the case of students of many other States. With the AIEEE counselling under way, parents and students see arbitrariness in the Ministry’s assurance to create a quota for students of States and Union Territories where there is no NIT. The off-campus online counselling was conducted from June 23 to 29, and the on-campus online counselling will begin on July 4. The decision, teachers of the NIT-Tiruchi reckon, will only benefit a few States where organised coaching is a multi-crore business. They point out that the performance in the board examinations of many AIEEE high-rankers from such States are far below that of students from States like Tamil Nadu.

What intrigues parents the most is that the Ministry has reneged on the promise on admission procedure when the Regional Engineering Colleges were upgraded as National Institutes of Technology. Rajasekaran, a parent, feels that at one stroke, the Ministry has deprived Tamil Nadu of the seats it is entitled to as per the Ministry’s assurance.

Apprehending that the admission procedure could be altered in future, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal delayed agreeing to the plan. But they got on board only after the Centre made the assurance. In a letter to the Regional Engineering Colleges in 2002, the Ministry made it clear that the ratio of intake of students would remain the same (50 per cent from the State concerned and 50 per cent nationwide with nominations from other States).

This procedure, which had been in vogue for more than four decades, gave the student body of the NITs a national character. Indeed, this was the aim with which the Regional Engineering Colleges were started by the Centre and the States in the early 1960s, the parents point out. They want the government to swing into action to safeguard the interests of the State.