Sunday, February 28, 2010

IITs re-think on admission process

Even as the HRD Ministry is actively considering the idea of a single entrance test for medical and engineering exams with a view to reduce stress levels, experts from IITs have slammed the existing entrance test to these institutes saying it should be revamped to reduce the stress levels. They have suggested more than one test in a year and greatear emphasis on extra co-curricular activities through the introduction of personal interview, as among the ways to redo the test. Calling for a "rethink" on the existing process of admissions to the IITs, the country's premier engineering institutions have, in fact, suggested giving students the option of taking the examinations "more than once" a year and which can be taken "any time".

"Admission to IITs based on a single test (IIT-JEE), which is one the toughest exams to crack, requires rethinking. A simpler test that can be taken any time, may be more than once with weightage to extra and co-curricular activities, recommendations on the inherent strength including character and emotional stability besides a personal interview can be considered," a note prepared by IIT Kharagpur for "student's welfare" maintained. This, it reasoned, will prevent admission of "self-centred students with a spent-fuel syndrome". And intake of students with a high level of inherent intelligence and better personality will help institutes produce better quality of product, it pointed out.

Highly placed sources said the note was part of the comprehensive document, which the IITs came out with on different aspects of their institutions that need to be focused on. "Be it governance and admissions or student's welfare, infrastructure and faculty, each aspect has been dealt with by the different IITs at Kanpur, Guwahati, Mumbai, Kharagpur, Madras and Roorkee. The document was discussed during the brain- storming session Sibal had with the IIT Directors at Manesar on February 4," the sources maintained. The suggestion gives a bent of mind of the IITs, whom the task force to be set up by the HRD Ministry will consult on the issue of implementing a single national-level common entrance test for all senior secondary students across India from 2013.

This apart, at a time when the prospective entry of IITs into the medical education sector is being hotly debated, the note calls for exploring the possibility."Being away from cities/metropolis, providing quality health care to students is a Herculean task. Creating state-of-the-art facilities is a costly proposition. Hence, remotely located IITs can promote a good private hospital nearby or even enter into medical education and bio-medical research if it's feasible," the note stated. It also suggested a clinical psychologist and a counseling centre at each IIT besides a medical practitioner.

The IIT-Kharagpur note further emphasised on balancing the load of academic pressure on the IIT students in all the four years to reduce stress and its adverse consequences; reducing formal teaching and increasing the stress on self-study, tutorials and home assignments with adequate teaching assistance.

Source: The Pioneer, February 21, 2010 (Reported by M Madhusudan)

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