This opinion piece by Bhamy V. Shenoy has been doing the rounds by e-mail. Its broad thrust -- that the JEE, IITs' entrance examination, is needlessly brutal -- is not really new. And Shenoy says some things that will enrage IIT folks -- students and faculty. I want to quote here some interesting statistics quoted by Shenoy:
The sums spent by IIT aspirants for coaching factories is about Rs 2000 crore per year, which is four times the annual budgetary allocation of the government to IITs. About 1,60,000 take JEEs and 3,500 are admitted to seven IITs.
During a recent year under review 979 candidates from South Zone secured admission. Of them 769 were from AP, while TN accounted for 94 successful candidates, Karnataka, 84, and Kerala, for no more than 32 candidates.
Mushrooming of IIT tutorials in Hyderabad may have much to do with JEE results. In the Northern Zone, Rajasthan is an unlikely state that is reported to have been doing well sending high proportion of students to IITs like AP. Kota in Rajasthan has a reputation for offering pressure-cooker coaching for IIT hopefuls.
However, Shenoy's numbers for JEE-takers is way off; it was almost 300,000 last year. The estimate of Rs. 2000 crores as the revenues for IIT coaching centres is also questionable (Shenoy does not cite a source for this figure). I hope that the other numbers -- about the successful candidates from the southern states -- came from some official sources.