The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is yet to decide on reviewing the changes in the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) joint entrance examination (JEE), but the IITs have given their verdict - the changes have been brought about in a hurry and have complicated the examination.
"We had been, since the beginning, suggesting this new pattern should be implemented from 2014, but to no avail. Though incorporating board marks for admission to IITs is a good move, the new format was implemented in a hurry, without much thought," said Gautam Barua, director, IIT-Guwahati.
Last year, then MHRD minister Kapil Sibal had cleared the proposal to hold the JEE in two parts-main and advanced. Students applying to the IITs have to appear for JEE-main. Of these students, only the top 1,50,000 are eligible for JEE-advanced. For final admission to the 16 IITs, based on JEE-advanced, a student has to be among the top 20 percentile in his respective standard-XII board.
While the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) conducts JEE-main, JEE-advanced is conducted by IIT-Delhi.
Coaching institutes have said the new process of normalisation has made it difficult for deserving students to qualify. The director of a Kota-based coaching institute said, "If a student from Tripura who secured 58 per cent marks in board exams is selected, while one from Andhra Pradesh with 80 per cent isn't, there could be flaws in the system."
"We need to discuss with Indian Statistical Institute (which had prepared the formula for normalisation) experts how real is the issue and whether it a problem on a larger scale. Only after such an analysis can any change be proposed in the process," said a senior IIT official.
Meanwhile, members of the IIT alumni associations are set to go on an agitation later this month to protest against the new system. Somnath Bharti, ex-president of IIT-Delhi Alumni Association and a Supreme Court lawyer, said the matter was sub judice. "We are looking at engaging directly with ministry officials on this issue. It is very unfortunate that these issues have cropped up," he said.
MHRD officials said the Andhra Pradesh government had taken up the issue in a high court.
'State boards interpreted 20% rule differently'
At a meeting between Human Resource Development Minister Pallam Raju and IIT officials on Wednesday, it was said in the case of the new JEE norms, while the IITs had meant the 20 percentile rule was applicable for students clearing JEE-advanced, state boards had taken it as applicable to 20 per cent of the students appearing for JEE-main.
"The method of calculation of the top 20 percentile had been clearly stated by us from day one. Therefore, we presented this to the minister…we wouldn't make any change to it. However, state boards used a different formula for normalisation and this resulted in the confusion," said a senior IIT official who attended the meeting. It was also decided IITs would draw up a list of students affected by the new rule and hold another meeting to address the issue.
WHAT IS NORMALISATION?
Normalisation, as used in the Indian context, is a process for ensuring students are neither advantaged nor disadvantaged by the difficulty of exams they do for the Boards. This process is used in other countries with similar issues as in India
Normalisation process requires one to know the following
Percentile score: Percentile score of a candidate in a Board or JEE (Main) will reflect what percentage of candidates have scored below that candidate in that Board or JEE (Main) Examination
A percentile score is the value of below which a certain per cent of observations fall. For example, the 20th percentile is the value (or score) below which 20 per cent of the observations may be found
Example: Suppose we have 13,711 candidates in a Board, and a candidate who's score is 60% of Board marks has 6,865 candidates below him; his percentile score will be calculated as follows
Percentile score for 60% of Board marks: 6,865/13,711 x 100