Let's look at some of the arguments and counterproposals:
They claimed that raising the cutoff from the current 60 per cent would not reduce the craze for coaching — as the government hopes — and that the institutes would start preparing students for both their IIT and board exams.
However, they argued, rural students would be hit hard because they are disadvantaged in the board exams — often lacking good laboratories or teachers at their schools — but face a level-playing field in the IIT entrance tests.
IITs are sitting on mountains of data that can clear this up. But we live in an absurd society in which coaching schools make a shameless claim that they are the ones that help level the field for rural students -- even though coaching schools are all located in cities and towns.
I wonder what'll come next: that coaching schools are the poor people's best friends?
Some coaching centres also argued that a higher board cutoff would raise tricky problems since different boards marked students differently — for instance, the CBSE awarded marks more generously than the Bengal board.
This is not a serious problem. IITs can use a percentile cut-off as a minimum requirement -- and this cut-off can be uniform across boards. A possible objection is to suggest / claim that people in Sate A are inherently inferior to people in State B. This would be an extraordinary (and potentially explosive) claim, and so would also require an extraordinary 'proof'.
This is not quite an argument for anything, but something for the IITs to ponder about:
He said the IITs had been changing the pattern of their entrance exam every year to try and reduce the influence of coaching, but the institutes had survived through research and innovation, evolving strategies that benefited their students.
And, finally, this counter-proposal gives a whole new meaning to chutzpah:
Pramod Bansal of Bansal Classes agreed: “They should retain the Class X exam where a student is free to concentrate only on his school subjects, and not burden them with high scoring in their Class XII boards when their focus is on entrance exams and their future career.”
This too should worry the IITs. The JEE is being framed here -- and I would say, with some justification -- as something that has little to do with school subjects. As something uncorrelated with Class XII performance. As something that takes primacy over board exams.
This is a pretty amazing transformation of an exam whose primary role should have been one of standardization across boards -- just as the role of board exams is to standardize across schools of different kinds (rural, urban, public, private, corporate, franchisee ...)