IIT-JEE 2012: Ultimate of Indian Aspirations

The results of IITJEE-2012 are out. It still excites me and reminds me of 1957. And that is the reason behind writing this entry while in USA. Over the years, many things have changed. Here are some salient aspects and my views.

• A total of 0.48 million candidates appeared for JEE.
• The count of successful girls in JEE has doubled to 2,886 since the last edition of the exam. Priya Inala–all-India rank (AIR) 21–from Andhra Pradesh is the girls’ topper, with only two other girls in the top 100. 0.15 million girls took the JEE all free of cost. I am sure pretty soon the performance of the girls, both in number and ranking to improve and surpass that of boys as in some other coveted examinations of the country.
• A general candidate pays Rs 40,000 as registration fee while a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe candidate pays Rs 20,000. Interestingly, I didn’t know that and wonder why the government can’t refund the fee paid by those successful ones who come from BPL families.
• The students from the IIT-Bombay zone (home to Kota) dominate the list of selected candidates.
• The southern zone has bagged the credit for having eight of the top 20 rankers, most from Andhra Pradesh.
• The north got the top three from Faridabad, Chandigarh and Bhilai. Can Ruchir Sharma, the author of ‘Breakout Nations’ relate the regional performance with his conclusion of North leaving south behind?
Of the 4,805 OBC candidates who qualified, 1,625 made it to the common merit list. Of the 3,464 SC and 654 ST students who qualified, about 300 made it without the handicap of score relaxation. Can the government, the respective institutions or some rich alumni come forward with financial incentive for these candidates? I wish the education system to eliminate the reservations with no effect on any.Nearly 400 Muslim aspirants have cracked the IIT-JEE http://www.indianexpress.com/news/nearly-400-muslim-candidates-crack-iitjee-largest-number-ever/953649/ Over 180 Muslim candidates have been shortlisted in the general category as well.
• Anand Kumar and Abhayanand of Bihar have become legendary. Twenty-seven of Anand Kumar’s Super 30 students cracked the JEE. Fifty-one students from Abhayanand’s training institute passed the exam. But heartening for me is one more similar claim coming from Bihar. Thirteen youths from weavers’ colony in Gaya crack entrance. An illiterate farmer’s 12-year-old son has created history by becoming the youngest candidate to clear the IIT-JEE exam.
• For the first time from this year, the IITs will have an “exit policy” with objective of reducing seat vacancies. Interestingly, last year, all the IITs together accounted for 762 vacancies, of which 650 were the result of dropouts. About 100 seats stayed vacant in the physically disabled category as there were not enough candidates.
• For the first time, IIT made the correct answer script available on computer and the candidates could assess their scores. All these years, I have been critical of the IITJEE selection system.

Interestingly, I couldn’t get data about the number of successful students who didn’t take any coaching or tuition. And that is the difference between today and that in 1957, when I went to appear for the entrance examination of IIT, Kharagpur. I also don’t know the number of those who succeeded in the first attempt.

I wish IIT could base all its questions from the curricula of CBSE class X-XII and all the state boards could agree to have the same curricula for science, mathematics and even English. If the states agree to get a common curricula and test for getting its best students into IITS, why should it not agree for the same at school stage?

It will either eliminate coaching or that coaching will also improve the standard of students appearing in CBSE examinations.

Over the next few years, IIT-JEE will further evolve. However, will it mean more technocrats and scientists for the country? With all the best IITians hankering for and preparing to get into IIMs without any practical experience or craving to join IAS, the country can’t be hoping that. I wish students with that mindset shun appearing for IIT-JEE, as it tells a lot of our value system.

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