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IITs may go to court against joint engineering test move

PTI 02 Jun 2012, 9:05:29 IST
New Delhi, June 2 : IIT alumni members and faculty members have decided to file PILs (public interest litigations)  in court against the move by HRD ministry to introduce joint engineering test next year with most of them saying the move will pull down these centres of excellence to an ordinary level.

IIT alumni members and faculty members in a meeting on friday decided to go to court on this issue.

"The IIT alumni will file PILs in various high courts within a week. The members felt that efforts should be done to get a hearing at the earliest and demand that the common test be postponed to 2014," said Somnath Bharti, IIT Delhi alumni association president.

Sources in IIT Kanpur said there was a sense of dissatisfaction that the HRD ministry had not heeded the faculty's concerns before announcing the decision.  Some of the faculty members have decided to boycott the IIT Kanpur convocation.

A senior faculty member from IIT Kanpur said, "Although all faculty members are upset with the decision, some will attend the convocation because it's an important occasion for the students."

All India IIT Faculty Federation secretary A K Mittal said, "People across IITs are concerned and agitated at the ministry's decision. We have written to the PM opposing the decision and will seek time from him."

The main points of contention between the faculty members and the ministry include the weightage given to class XII board exams for shortlisting candidates and the lack of complete control over the IIT exam. There are 15 IITs with about 10,000 seats in the country.  

HRD ministry sources said efforts were being to ensure that the matter does not go to the courts.  

A senior official said, "The ministry has over a period of two years held lengthy consultations and tried to accommodate all the concerns raised by the various stakeholders."

Ministry sources said that the IITs are geared for conducting exams for 5-6 lakh students but the numbers would increase to 20 lakh with the common test.  

"We have even said that IITs will be able to direct the agency that conducts the test," the source said.  

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the president of Faculty Federation of IIT Delhi Sanjeev Sanghi has said, the new pattern would erode the autonomy of the elite institutions.

“As far as holding the test is concerned, the new format will erode the autonomous status enjoyed by IITs,” said Sanghi in his letter.  

Sanghi also regretted the decision to hold the test under the new format from 2013, saying their plea to hold it from 2014 has been rejected.

“This will create a big problem because the IITs will be left with no time to conduct a dry run to assess the new format,” he said.

The HRD Ministry had recently announced a new format for the IIT entrance under which the plus two Board results of the candidates will also be taken into consideration.  

Under the prescribed format, for admission to all centrally-funded institutes, there would be 40 percentage weightage for performance in Class XII (after normalisation of marks), 30 per cent weightage to performance in main and 30 per cent in the advanced test.

In case of IITs, there would be a filtering process involved. The Board results and the main test will be given 50 per cent weightage each.

Only the top 50,000 students will be selected for the advance test after taking into account their performance in the board results and the main result.