Single Entrance Exam option for all engineering institutes‎

The government is fast moving towards replacing all engineering entrances, including Indian Institutes of Technology-Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE) and All India Entrance Examination for Engineering (AIEEE), with one National Aptitude Test (NAT).

Dr  T Ramaswamy Committee on reforms in IIT Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) has decided to have a single entrance examination for admission to engineering course, but is yet to firm up how specifically it would be done.

The panel has decided to seek public opinion before finalizing its recommendation. In the next few days, a dedicated website would be created to draw public opinion. It remains to be seen if IIT Council agrees to be a part of engineering entrance examination that would also be for admission to non-IIT engineering colleges. Even state governments would have to come on board.

The reform is likely to benefit more than 10 lakh students every year, who at present have to take multiple examinations to get into engineering courses.

In a meeting, which was attending by the directors of IIT Delhi, Kanpur and other engineering institutions, the government broadly agreed on “one nation one examination” policy. Dr T Ramaswamy, secretary, department of science and technology was entrusted the job to re-look at the test methodology of selecting students and have a common system for admission. According to sources, NAT will be similar to the single medical entrance test that the Medical Council of India (MCI) will conduct from next year.

Since 2008, Ramasami Committee is the fourth attempt to reform JEE. The first was an internal committee under V G Idichandy of IIT-Madras. He suggested scrapping of JEE, and considering Standard XII marks for IIT admission. Recommendations were neither made public nor discussed.

In October 2009, IIT Council suggested increasing eligibility cutoff from the existing 60% to 80% in Standard XII. Then, a committee of secretaries of department of science & technology, department of bio-technology and department of science and industrial research was set up to suggest IIT-JEE reforms. No proposal came from them.

The state governments may not approve the idea of NAT and the IITs do not want the JEE system to be destroyed. “You already have a good system working, why destroy it,” an IIT director said.

During the last meeting of the IITs council, there was no consensus on having a single entrance examination for admissions. Seven out of 15 IITs favored having a separate “add-on” examination in addition to the NAT. However, HRD minister Kapil Sibal is of the view that if IITs have an additional exam then nothing stops other institutions like planning and architecture colleges etc to have their own exams.

The Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister in its recommendations has also favored a single entrance examination for engineering.

This was followed by the Acharya Committee of four IIT directors to suggest JEE reforms. It submitted an interim report for admission, based on weighted sum of normalized Standard XII marks along with proposed SAT-like examination. It was rejected by most stakeholders like IIT faculty, state board chiefs etc.

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