Why IIT-JEE Should Not End

UPDATE: This article is a bit old and may not be relevant now.

The end of JEE from 2013 onwards has been in the news for quite some time and all of us have heard about this even though nothing is yet certain after the MHRD’s so called “final decision”. The MHRD has recently proposed a unified examination called the ISEET which will be a common entrance examination for admissions to B.Tech. courses in colleges all over India . Now this decision has seen a lot of opposition from IITians and students from all over the country. Now some of you might wonder - Why all this fiasco for one entrance examination? Why does a large fraction of the elite student community want this examination to go on? Why do IITians vouch for this exam when they have cleared it already and it won’t affect them now? Read on for the answers :D

BACKGROUND

The JEE is widely regarded as one of the world’s toughest entrance examinations. It is the entrance examination for getting admission into the IITs which are the premier institutes for engineering in India. Every year lakhs of students give the extremely competitive JEE to prove their mettle. The MHRD has proposed ISEET to replace JEE . The ISEET will test skills such as reading comprehension, critical thinking,┬álogical reasoning, problem solving ability in basic science subjects. This will constitute 60% of the IIT admission criteria. Remaining 40% will be coming from the Board exams.

WHY THE EDUCATION MINISTRY WISHES TO DO AWAY WITH JEE

ISEET RESEMBLES A SINGLE EXAMINATION PATTERN FOR ALL UNIVERSITIES IN OTHER COUNTRIES LIKE THE US
There are some very interesting reasons why this is not feasible in India for some years. I’ll discuss them later perhaps.
THE KOTA FACTOR
Since a long time JEE has been under the line of fire from some politicians and professors alike to admit students who take coaching classes and just mug up the whole syllabus to get into IITs. I’ll try my best to assure you by the end of the article that this claim has no basis.

WHY IITIAN’S DON’T WANT IT TO END?

CORRUPTION
One of the biggest reasons is Corruption (well, yeah this is applicable everywhere ;) ). The IITs are autonomous bodies and don’t usually see interference from the government. They have ensured that JEE is as corruption free as possible. This has not been the case with examinations conducted by the central or the state governments which see papers leaking almost every other year. From making the paper to the conduction of JEE and to admission of students after announcing marks, the IITs handle all the procedures themselves and select the brightest students of India purely on the basis of merit. IITians globally are concerned about the admission rights going to the Central Government as we might soon see sons and daughters of influential/wealthy people getting into IITs once this change happens. The status which IITs enjoy now would then be destroyed soon.
MUGGING UP DOES NOT GET YOU HERE
This argument is as absurd as beleiving that eating almonds would make you intelligent. They sure would increase your hair quality though. ( :P Thumbs Up if you lol’d at this ) Except from Inorganic Chemistry and parts of Organic Chemistry(upto XII class :) ), i beleive that there is nothing that you can crack in JEE just by mugging up and most of my friends agree with me. The JEE paper is set by the most distinguised professors in India and has the most conceptual and application based questions - questions which you just can’t solve by keeping a dictionary of 500 or so formulae/reactions somewhere in your brain. Coaching institutes introduce students to a whole new detailed level of academics and stimulate them to work harder by providing them organised notes and a competitive environment. They ensure that cream of India keeps on evolving and becoming sharper and every generation of students is better than the previous one.
EDUCATION MINISTRY WAY TOO CONSERVATIVE
The Ministry, on the other hand, sees the success of Coaching institutes as the “Emergence of a New Educational Order”. This order is day by day becoming a serious threat to schools and the orthodox study pattern prevalent in most countries. Like every other thing this education system has many pros and cons. However if coaching is taken after X class when a sudent has decided what he/she wishes to pursue coaching is more beneficial than schools. This argument is not very strong and everyone has their own opinions. The Education Ministry however wishes to curb this threat to their school system.
LIFE IN KOTA TEACHES A LOT APART FROM STUDIES
A lot of students have a protected environment at their homes. This does not change a lot in college as the campuses are miniature townships and there’s not much exposure to the outside world. Kota provides an alternative life skills learning environment where there’s a lot to tackle besides the gruelling academic competition. Living alone in a new city with no one around to take care of you and having unrestricted freedom is not something everyone can handle at that age.
NORMALIZING BOARD MARKS FROM DIFFERENT BOARDS
This will be creating a lot of problems and there won’t be any fair way to normalize exam marks from different state/national/international boards. Unfair practices will be inevitable and money power will surely do its dirty magic here.

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

A lot of meetings are taking place between the Directors of IITs and MHRD officials. The senates of various IITs are also actively discussing the issue. The following solutions are being preferred at the moment -
  1. Both JEE and ISEET will be held. The top 50,000(or so) ISEET rankers will be allowed to give JEE. Admission criteria will solely be JEE rank or a small weightage might also be given to ISEET marks.
  2. Only JEE will need to be cleared.
  3. JEE will be held in 2013. Decision for 2014 will be taken when IITs would have reviewed the performance of ISEET 2013.

RANDOM STUFF

It is acknowledged by engineers that there is not much unity among factions of the engineering community. It is interesting to see how threats to JEE and their alma mater still continue to unite IITians spread out across the world. We are resisting at all fronts (PanIIT conclaves, protests, rallies, MHRD-IIT Directors’ Meets) and will continue to do so with the best interests of our country at heart.

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