Wednesday, May 04, 2005

IITs in the news (again...)

Update (27.8.2005): Urmi Goswami reports in to-day's Economic Times that the JEE could be in a simpler format from the academic year 2006-07 itself.

I find it difficult to understand why people should get upset about IIT-JEE syllabus being made to conform to that of the +2 (higher secondary education) across all the education boards in India. Unlike Primary Red at Secular-Right and Amit Varma at India Uncut, I welcome it, simply because it levels the playing field -- only slightly, though -- for everyone. In the present system, students of ISC and CBSE schools have an inherent advantage simply because their syllabi are the closest approximation to that of JEE than the syllabus of any other board.

Why do I doubt that this proposed move make any difference? Simply because the ISC and CBSE students with a mastery over advanced topics will continue to enjoy an advantage over their lesser cousins. Clearly, coaching classes with an estimated total business of about 30 billion (3000 crore) rupees, are not in any danger of having to close down because of lack of students. The likely positive effect is essentially psychological: scores of students who do not make the cut can now leave the exam hall with the satisfaction of having tried at least a few questions successfully.

Finally, when it comes to rhetoric and choice of words, don't you think the secular right is right up their with the rabid right in its celebration of testosterone? Sissification? Yikes!

On the other hand, the other proposed move is to open up IITs and IIMs to Pakistani students, who will also be selected through JEE or CAT. Nitin, whose blog was blocked by a country that he visited recently, has weighed in against this proposal, and so has Primary Red. As of now, I have nothing against it, except to wonder why we should restrict it only to Pakistan. On a practical level, though, I think this proposal is dead on arrival; the IIT faculty are unlikely to accept it.


  1. Anonymous said...

    Since there isn't a uniform syllabus between CBSE and the "State Boards" schools, how do you make the IIT JEE syllabus conform to everything?. I remember writing the entrance exam for engineering colleges in TN (TNPCEE)about nine years back and the syllabus (basically the TN state board syllabus) was different enough from CBSE syllabus especially in Chemistry and Mathematics. I don't think we were complaining about the syllabus. However it was much easier to score higher on the state board exams than the CBSE exams. These marks counted for 200 out of 300 for the admission I believe. The entrance exams counted for 100 out of 300. This put CBSE students at somewhat of a disadvantage.