Getting into an IIT: The bleak future for students

You
change from A to B to get rid of something. After 3 years, you change from B to
C since the initial change didn’t work out, and in this process you try to
bring another change, and scrape off an earlier one, hoping that all of it
works out this time. Confused?

No
wonder why you won’t be. Instead of being a story, such is the situation of the
IITs at present. They are so confused about what new ‘thing’ should be brought
in the pattern of selecting students to the premier engineering institutes of
India.

Back about
30 years, admission to the IITs used to be based on a solely subjective exam, and
AIEEE + other several state entrance CET exams were being conducted parallel to
it. Some years later, IITs changed from a subjective format to objective, then
to objective with negative marks, then to objective with negative marks with
multiple correct answers, and then to no fixed patterns. But the AIEEE and CETs
were still there.

Getting
admission into an IIT became increasingly difficult. So, the number of students
flocking to coaching classes increased, who then started earning a lot of money!
This didn’t get off well with the government, as they started wondering how coaching
classes were earning such big amounts.

So they thought
of a plan. A plan to bring a change. A change to scrap off the CETs and the AIEEE
forever and combine all of these exams into the JEE (Main). 3 years back, the government
brought in reforms which made JEE (Main) the filter for students to get
selected for JEE (Advanced), which still remained as the official and actual
IIT entrance test. Only 1.5 lakh students of the 11 lakh+ who gave JEE (Main)
could appear for the JEE (Advanced). So, taking a shot at the actual IIT exams was
also not possible once you didn’t clear the JEE (Main) and didn’t score well in
your Class 12 board exams – something no engineering aspirant ever thought of
earlier.

If you
thought this is it, then no. Not at all. In 2016, the powers that be have
decided to increase the number of students qualifying for JEE (Advanced) to 2
lakh. State exams like CET will take place again, as some states are
dissatisfied with how the JEE is conducted. So, now a student will have to
study for JEE (Main), JEE (Advanced), CETs, Class 12 Board exams, other private
universities’ exams like BITSAT, SRMEEE, VITEEE, etc.

Still,
the story isn’t over yet. Come 2017, they have thought of a new plan to
pressurize the students even more. They are saying, ‘you are already giving so
many exams, then why not one more?’

From
2017, a student will have to give an online aptitude test that will evaluate
their scientific mettle and innovative thinking ability. About 4 lakh students
who clear this test will be allowed to give the JEE, which will be nothing but
the JEE (Advanced), and then there will be a common counseling process for
admission into the IITs, NITs and other major national engineering institutes.
Around 40,000 students will be able to seek admission through this common counseling
process. But the CETs still remain, Class 12 board exams still remain.

As a
summary for an engineering seat in any of the IIT’s, a student has to write a test,
to write another test, to write an advanced version of the actual test.

This process
has so many twists in its procedure. Almost a year will need to be taken to just
understand the technique alone. In fact, it has more twists than an
Abbas-Mustan movie. And this is definitely more entertaining and realistic in comparison.
You think that the format has been decided. And then they are like, ‘no, not so
early, give another exam!’

That day
isn’t far when a child will be tired of giving so many exams, that the
importance of any specific exam will be null and void. A day before the exam,
he in his casual attitude will be, “Accha
okay! Exam hi dena hain na, de denge… Kitne dein?”

And the
biggest irony in all of this is that the powers that be are bringing in this ‘aptitude
test’ to curtail the dependence of a student on coaching classes. This was the
same thought 3 years ago when they first introduced the JEE (Main) & JEE
(Advanced). Now, they are bringing in another aptitude test, to be conducted by
the still-to-be-created National Testing Survey (NTS). Even more, they are also
planning to introduce a Subjective paper, held after JEE (Advanced), from 2017.

Maybe
after all of these tests, you can conduct interviews too! Wow! That would be so
exciting! To give an interview for admission into an engineering college – not exit
it and get a job! They expect the demand for coaching classes to reduce after
these changes. But more the number of exams you introduce, the demand for
coaching classes will increase tenfold. Since the time the JEE (Main) & JEE
(Advanced) were introduced, the demand for coaching has increased 25% from what
it was before.

To put
an end to all this, the committee should think about rectifying and improving the
current system, understand what mistakes are being carried out in the two-tier
system, and remove them from the core, instead of bringing up a new exam every
other day. Something needs to be done, and you need to be done with the
continuous to & fro movement in decision making, and the tussle between the
government and the IITs.

Otherwise,
if such situations are to continue, the chances for a student to clear and get
a seat in the IITs is pretty bleak. Finally, those successful in getting admission
will certainly be the best students in the country. Yet, some good and
efficient students would lose their opportunity in the process. Thus, something
needs to be done rapidly for the betterment of students and institutes as well.

This article is part of PaGaLGuY’s innovative Internship programme for engineering students. Currently, two such programmes are on – one on Creative Writing, the other is a Certification on Digital Media. If you are interested in partaking and  bagging a certificate, besides learning the nuances of effective writing, mail us at [email protected]

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