Come February, and the cloud over the issue of conducting a single entrance examination for admissions to engineering institutes may finally be cleared. Directors of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) that Business Standard spoke to said that by the end of February 2012, there may be a consensus on whether to hold a single entrance examination in 2013 and thereon.
The Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) held for admissions to the IITs and the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) for admission to Centrally-funded technical institutes may be merged to create a single entrance test.
"Directors of the IITs, NITs, IIITs and Indian Institutes of Science Education & Research (IISERs) have been asked to give their feedback. A formal notification on this will be issued next month. Mostly, we are all on the same page," said an IIT director on the condition of anonymity.
In September 2011, the IIT council had accepted the recommendations of the T Ramaswami committee report on JEE reforms and proposed a single entrance test for all engineering colleges, including IITs, NITs and other engineering institutions.
Key reforms that the committee was looking at include reduction in the number of examinations to one; testing knowledge intensity; alignment to the 12th class syllabus; reduction of dependency on coaching and pressure on students and emphasis on aptitude among other things.
IITs say a formal notification will be issued with details of the examination format to be followed by IITs. That is, while considering a student for a seat — whether to give 50 per cent or 60 per cent weightage to the board exams and the rest to IIT-JEE scores.
Centrally-funded technical institutes along with other Deemed Universities and Technical Institutions offer admissions to students through AIEEE.
Last year, 10,53,807 candidates took the AIEEE exam out of 11,14,541 registered candidates. Approximately 34,311 seats are there for BE and BTech and 1,070 seats for Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Planning in various institutions. The institutes located in West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Chandigarh and Delhi accepted AIEEE scores to admit students.
There are four IIITs at Allahabad, Gwalior, Jabalpur and Kanchipuram. Total number of NITs at present is 20. Also, 10 new NITs are proposed to be set up during Eleventh Five Year Plan. NITs are expected to be at par with other national level technical institutes.
IIT-JEE, say IIT directors, has become a craze among students, largely because of the high-paying jobs one lands after an IIT degree.
"Entrance examination is a big racket in our country. And if you want to reduce the number of examinations, then different systems should not be asked to hold different examinations," said another IIT director.
Last year around 4.85 lakh students — an increase of 6.5 per cent or 30,000 — appeared for the joint entrance examination to seek admission to 9,600 seats on offer in 15 IITs.