Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Well, that was fast!

Pallavi Singh in Mint: No Govt. Interference in IIT eligibility criteria, says Sibal.

Well, that was that! That 80 percent score in Class XII exams was just a trial balloon from HRD Minister Kapil Sibal. Now that it has backfired badly, he has also backtracked by saying this is the IITs' call.

What is really interesting is the alacrity with which some politicians reacted to Sibal's trial balloon.

  1. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar; in response to his letter, Sibal said "the alleged proposal" is "non-existent."

  2. Lok Jan Shakti leader Ram Vilas Paswan

  3. UP CM Mayawati

  4. JMM General Secretary Ramesh Hansda

  5. BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad

* * *

The best comment I have read so far is from one Aakash Chaudhry, who runs a coaching school. He seems to think that the following line of reasoning supports coaching schools:

"Coaching cannot be eliminated. As long as the IIT-JEE exam exists, there will be need for coaching. Learning in schools alone is insufficient to crack the IIT-JEE. They focus on all-round development and extra-curricular activities, and not just academics. We focus only on academics." [Bold emphasis added].


  1. Anonymous said...

    May be I will end up sounding like an idiot. But one way of reducing emphasis on coaching centers is to make sure that there are opportunities for folks who decide to take the other routes (other than engg). Could be humanities, fine arts, heck, even sports. In other words, create an environment where every Ram or Shyam will not have to look at engineering as the road to a job that pays okay.

    As long as IIT BTech is held up on a pedestal compared to anything and everything else, the rat race for an IIT seat will continue, and the coaching centers for the rat race will continue to flourish.

    The comment by Aakash Chaudhry, rather unfortunately, is an excellent reflection of the Indian psyche, where all round development isnt a priority, but academics is. And the only reason academics is a priority is because its a passport to a white collar job.

    On a side note, how many developed countries does anyone know where there is an immense thrust on engineering education, with humanities and arts treated as poor cousins, at least to the extent its happening in India? None. For any country to prosper, there has to be all round development. High time the Indians and their government realized this and worked towards it. A by-product of all round development would also be the elimination of coaching centers.

  2. Anonymous said...

    Is there any data about the board exam marks of IITians for the past 5 years that can tell if the opposition to raise the cut-off has any merit.

  3. Anonymous said...

    "Is there any data about the board exam marks of IITians for the past 5 years that can tell if the opposition to raise the cut-off has any merit."

    Abi's colleague, Prof. Madras, refers to some studies in his blog. These studies show that the top 5 percentile in the board exam have done well in the IIT system. There seems to be a direct correlation between XII board percentile and CGPA of the candidate in the B.Tech.

  4. prasun said...

    That argument does support coaching.

    IIT-JEE only requires academic results. You could be a brain in a jar for all they care.