‘Dhisai’: NIT Trichy’s students popularise JEE among TN aspirants

Students of NITT addressing higher secondary school students through Dhisai

Dhisai‘ meaning ‘Direction’ is inspired from the Sanskrit word ‘Disha‘. Students from National Institute of Technology, Trichy, are spearheading an initiative to inspire students from various districts of Tamil Nadu to attempt the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE). The idea among these NITians is to create awareness among the school students of Tamil Nadu state board about the JEE and provide the necessary guidance to attempt the competitive engineering exam.

“In 2013, a change in the JEE ranking system by the MHRD, increased the weightage of class 12 board exam scores to 40%. In Tamil Nadu, a lot of students score well in the state board exams. However, very few attempt the JEE and get selected to premier engineering institutes. Dhisai is an initiative to cut a path for the students attempt the JEE. They do stand a very good chance of securing a good rank,” says Keerthi Vasan, a fourth-year student-in-charge of the initiative. 

The questions in JEE are based on the CBSE syllabus of class 12. How then can students of Tamil Nadu state board cope up? NITT students added that the syllabus is not an issue because it is more or less the same across both the boards. The difference however, lies in the approach to the concepts is what the NITians believe. While the marking in class 12 board exam is largely based on answers produced by rote-learning, the JEE involves the comprehensive understanding of the concept. “The reason we approached the students of class 11 and 12 is so that their preparation for board exams can be based on understanding rather than rote learning only.” Vasan added. 

This is the second year of the initiative Dhisai. It chalks down every detail about JEE; beginning from the syllabus that students must focus on, to college admissions criteria. A booklet has been prepared in English and Tamil by NITT students and is being distributed to the  students of higher secondary schools in various districts. After the first year of Dhisai, 10 students from Coimbatore’s C.C.M.A Higher Secondary School attempted the JEE for the first time last year. 

So far, Dhisai has been implemented in Trichy, Madurai and Coimbatore. Plans have been made to cover Thirunalvelli and Kanchipuram as well in the coming weeks. NITT students from various batches form a team to visit schools in these cities and address the students there. They share their experiences about the life and what these national institutes have to offer to its students. “Education at these premier institutes is perceived as expensive, however students of a meritorious calibre do get scholarships which reduces the monetary burden considerably,” said Ajay Immanuel, an active member in implementing Dhisai. He also added 

“We approached the district administration and they directed the Chief Education Officers in these cities to co-ordinated with us. At present, we have about 50 to 60 students from each govt. run school of every district to attend the seminar. They gathered at a host school and we then addressed them. The school students were curious and had quite a number of queries regarding JEE. We hoped to answer all of them.” said Immanuel. 

The estimated budget for this initiative is close to 1.5 lakh, at present funded entirely by NIT Trichy. Around 8000 booklets are being distributed among these school students. At the same time, the students will also be launching a video tentatively in the next few days in three different languages- English and Tamil for the benefit of the students.

With recent reports that students in Tamil Nadu are among the lowest to attempt the JEE in the previous year, this initiative has brought about subtle changes in the current scenario. However, just creating an awareness and not providing the necessary coaching may prove futile. 

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