It was just yesterday when Charu Sudan Kasturi reported in The Telegraph on the very interesting contents of a report from a committee of IIT directors suggesting that JEE be replaced by a combination of Board exams and a SAT-like aptitude test.
Some of the early reaction [here, here and here] has focused on coaching centers: since the proposed move strikes at the very soul of their business, we may expect them oppose it with all their might.
Coaching centers may yet get into the act, but the credit for being the first off the block should go to the one constituency that is bound tightly to the JEE -- the IIT alumni.
I wouldn't take the petition's contents as representing the views of all the IITians; with that caveat out of the way, I've got to admit that it's an amazing document. With its condescending tone, marketing jargon, sad grammar, and poor punctuation, it's still a virtual gold mine -- offering us nuggets of insight into how some IITians view themselves, their achievements, and their relationship with the rest of India and the world.
Some excerpts [with my 'commentary' restricted to adding bold emphasis]:
[In JEE, there] was no emphasis on overall performance at high school and none on student's educational background, promoting a level playing field for students from nooks and corners of India.
The success of IIT alumni who have done the Nation proud belongs to the Indian Government, the IITs themselves and also the Indian Tax Payers, whose money was invested unconditionally by GoI in IITs for five decades.
Whilst all of the above share credit for the success of the IITs, basic marketing principles would say that a Global Brand is created more by its graduates and the benefits that those alumni bring to India and the world at large, than any other single entity; thus, IIT Alumni is a critically important group to consider.
The key ingredient to the IIT system is the JEE ( Joint Entrance Examination ), that has helped pick truly gifted students for 50 years for a B.Tech Degree. Quality materials are needed to develop a quality product, and JEE does just that, selecting from about 400,000 aspirants annually, the cream of the nation to study at IITs.
Any system that has consistently delivered high on career development can be prone to abuse. There have been allegations of some misuse of the JEE too. Private coaching classes have mushroomed around the country to circumvent JEE methodologies used to identify excellence. This needs to be fixed.
However abolishing JEE would be a case of "throwing the baby out with the bath water". We are sure you will see our appeal is fair, in the best interest of the nation and children of the future.
Okay, I can go on and on [and the entire petition cries out to be fisked], but I think I should stop with this:
JEE is very different from 10+2 board exams in that JEE tests a students raw intelligence, which is an individual's ability to grasp abstract concepts, recognize patterns plus apply prior knowledge while 10+2 school board exams test knowledge acquired at school. [...]