Friday, April 22, 2011

Panel for single exam option for all engineering institutes

A panel recommendation for a single entrance examination for all engineering institutions has thrust upon human resource development (HRD) minister Kapil Sibal a key test — picking between his convictions and likely pressures from states and the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT). Science secretary T. Ramasami, head of a panel set up by Sibal to pencil a blueprint to replace India’s myriad engineering exams with a single test, on Thursday proposed three possible mechanisms to implement the plan, government sources confirmed.

But Ramasami’s proposals --- which are not final and will be worked on by the science secretary further --- have set the stage for Sibal to try and convince state governments and elite institutions like the IITs to give up their entrance examinations, sources said. "It will not be easy. In fact, this will be very, very difficult. But if he succeeds, it will be historic," a senior official said.

Unlike a proposal by an earlier panel set up by Sibal under IIT-Kharagpur Director Damodar Acharya, the new plan involves a single national aptitude test. The Acharya panel had suggested that institutions like the IITs be allowed to hold an add-on test with subject specific questions on Physics, Chemistry and Math. Seven IITs objected to the HRD minister’s proposal for a single test — with no exceptions — to reduce the burden on students who at present have to appear for multiple admission tests.

Even the Acharya panel’s report was rubbished by faculty forums at the IITs. The plan to dump the add-on test is likely to spur greater protests from within the IIT community, the sources said.

Source: Hindustan Times, April 22, 2011

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