Why should IITs have problem with ‘One Nation-One Exam’

All engineering aspirants under the weight of innumerable entrance exams, yearn for relief. One has to appear for AIEEE for admissions into NITs and other state colleges; one has to take IIT JEE for admission into various IITs. And as if this was not enough-every other state or college conducts its own test like WB JEE, BITSAT, VITEEE,COMEDK etc. At present there are close to  4,000 engineering colleges in India and to take separate tests even for top 1% of these can be a cumbersome. Firstly, all these tests costs a candidate  more than thousand bucks. So on an average, a candidate has to shell out more than 15k only on these forms. Secondly, all these exams are of diverse nature. So if one prepares for all of them, one ends up getting into none. So to cope up and cater to all these creates lot of mental stress; apart from burning a hole into parent’s pockets.

As an antidote to these problems, ‘One Nation-One Exam‘ was conceptualized by the MHRD in consultation with IIT governing council.  Finally a formula was agreed upon, as per which a centralized test would be conducted in form of JEE-mains and JEE-advanced. The performance in this along with the class 12 grades would decide the eligibility of a student to all engineering colleges in India. This formula appears very promising for 4 major reasons-
(i) It is the much needed stress-buster for all the engineering aspirants
(ii) It is promising solution for those who can’t afford to apply to many of these tests.
(iii)It brings more uniformity and transparency into admission process.
(iv) It reduces the emphasis on coaching culture and enhances the participation of school education.

This proposal may appear to have been popped up in a hurry, but still it is the much needed revamp  the present education system needs. While this proposal was initially welcomed by one and all, suddenly some detractors have surfaced in this 11th hour. While IIT Kanpur has rejected this proposal and it’s senate has decided to conduct its own entrance test for the next two years, IIT Kharagpur and Guwahati have come out in full support of the proposal. IIT-D is yet to take clear stand and same is true for all other counterparts. The reputation of IITs have really gone for a toss with different IITs at loggerheads with one another. The opposition by various private institute can be understood; as this unified test implies  that private players will have to forgo huge revenue that they generated though entrance test fees.But the crux to entire problem is-Why should IITs have problem with this new system?

No NIT or IIIT has yet come out in dissent to this proposal.
So why only IITs?
Do they see this ‘One Exam-One Nation’ an insult to their autonomy?
Has a sense of elitism crept in IIT governing bodies which forces them to opt for staus-quo?

Those who oppose this proposal, have nothing logical to support their argument. I fail to figure out for how can this adversely impact the quality of intake of IITs. A very senior professors for IIT Kanpur was quoted as saying-“5 lakh people appear for IIT JEE and 12 lakh appear for AIEEE every year. By creating a common entrance exam you are forcing 7 lakh student to take JEE advanced while they are not interested in joining any IIT”.  Well in this 7 lakh; there are students, who have to choose one of the tests due to economic crisis. With more seats and lesser risk, student end up opting for AIEEE. So providing  a level playing field and an integrated cumulative index; the present proposal would only increase the quality of students in Engineering colleges.

The point that I want to drive home is that ‘One Exam, One Nation’ is good for all and should unanimously be accepted. The format can be refined over the years. This indecision is not good. Students are caught in turf battle between IITs and the government. In this era of competitiveness, every day counts. IIT-JEE and AIEEE 2013 aspirants are in dilemma. A consensus should be reached at the earliest, so that students can prepare accordingly.

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Amit

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