Thursday, April 05, 2012

MHRD reaches out to IITs to clear doubts on ISEET

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is reaching out to the IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology)to smoothen misgivings about a common entrance examination for science and engineering. The IITs at Kharagpur, Kanpur, Delhi, Bombay, Guwahati and Madras have raised concerns about the proposed examination reforms. The ministry has made it clear it would like the new system in place in 2013.

The meeting will be held on April 11. IIT directors, representatives of the faculty federation and some other faculty members have been invited to attend the meeting. The deliberations of the meeting will be discussed in the IIT Council meet to be held on April 14. The divergence with the government is broadly about two issues - the test comprising solely of objective type questions, and the use of a weightage formula to consider the class XII board performance.

The IITs would also like to retain control over the eligibility test, the government's proposal gives CBSE the mandate to conduct these tests. The Senate, the highest decision making body in the institute, of some of these IITs have made clear their concern. A senior official said that the ministry was holding consultations to finalise the "nuts and bolts" of the decision to put the Indian Science Engineering Eligibility Test ( ISEET) in place.

"None of the IITs are questioning the need for reform nor are they opposed to the fact that the new system should be in place by 2013. There are three or four paths to meet this objective and discussions are on to determine which path to take," an official said. The IITs argue that the new system with higher weightage for class XII board examinations is not practical. The ministry's proposal for a statistical method for normalisation of school board scores doesn't have the approval of these engineering schools.

The IITs argue the method suggested for factoring in Class-XII score in selection would not help these engineering schools admit the best students were admitted. Its their argument that since the assessment system varies among school boards, it would be not be possible to assess all students by the same scale and weightage.

Similarly the exclusive use of objective type questions in the proposed test has also not met with the IITs approval. The proposed common eligibility test will consist of two parts. The first will be an aptitude test, which will be objective type testing the students' abilities of comprehension, critical thinking, and logical reasoning. The second is an advance test based on the students' problem solving abilities for basic science subjects.

Source: The Economic Times, April 5, 2012

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