Monday, August 16, 2010

IITs, IIMs to dump grades?

The country's centres of excellence, mentored by foreign governments, have graded their graduates based on a Western system --- the cumulative grade point index for several years. Now, a section of them is moving to a more conventional marking system based on percentage after public sector undertaking (PSU) companies recruiting from top institutes have asked the IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology), IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) and NITs (National Institutes of Technology) to provide an equivalence of their grades by giving percentages. Each institute, autonomous in nature, has its own grading system. Most IITs award a cumulative performance index (CPI) on a scale of one to 10 but IIT-Kanpur does not award odd-number grades. And, among the IIMs, those in Ahmedabad and Bangalore award a CGPA on a scale of one to four like American universities but IIM-Calcutta grades its students on a range of one to nine points.

This, according to PSUs, creates a lot of confusion and hence the move to ask for a more conventional grading system. But, just like the current varied marking system, the decision to move to percentages, too, has elicited divergent opinions among India's premier educational institutes. Some are internally drawing up an equivalence and will publish that on the report card but others say they dont feel the need to carry out such an exercise.

Professor in charge of placements at IIT-Bombay Ravi Sinha said, "Each PSU has its own human resource policy and they want us to provide our grade equivalence for the minimum threshold level which they can interpret. So, IIT-Bombay, keeping in mind students' interest in its senate decided to flesh out an equivalence so that a system of conversion equivalence should emerge from reliable data and a clear and unambiguous basis to stand the test of time".

But most NITs have asked the PSUs to either devise their conversion table or refer the matter to the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). "I have a method of grading my students and the PSUs should draw up their own method of assessing the graduates they hire. We have referred the case to the AICTE", NIT-Nagpur Director S.S. Gokhale said. IIT-Guwahati Director Gautam Barua too said converting grades into percentage was no easy answer. IIT-Delhi Chairman (Placement ) Kushal Sen confirmed that such a request had come from the PSUs but there is no way we can convert CPI to percentages.

Many of the IIMs, however, have already designed a formula to convert. "PSU recruiters last year had the same request. They wanted us to provide the corresponding percentage for our CG", IIM-Bangalore placement official Sapna Agrawal said.

Source: The Times of India, August 16, 2010

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