As reported, at least one of the older IITs, IIT-Kanpur has decided to go for an open war against Sibal’s wish and has decided its own way to pick students for the next academic year. The institute has shot down the IIT council’s proposal of a common entrance test for all centrally-funded engineering institutes and announced its own exam. The IIT-Kanpur’s special senate meeting attended by around 80 members unanimously passed a resolution to that effect.
Why has been Kapil Sibal so adamant? Any such controversy neither builds a good image of the government nor of the globally recognized brand of the institute.
Instead Kapil Sibal should work on some other priorities. It would have been a better service to the nation if Sibal would have gone for the initiative first to have common and agreed curricula for the subjects such as English, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology for class XII of all the boards in the country. Interestingly, USA with differing curricula in its 50 odd states is also working on an initiative to have ‘Common Core State Standards’ for English, Mathematics and Science in K-12. Has Sibal surrendered because of the fear of facing so many states?
But Sibal would have certainly assisted IITs to become globally more accepted and sought for institutes. Why can’t the IITs be lucrative enough to draw the best students from all over the globe, as Stanford or MIT does? Can the embassies in different countries sell IITs’ image and encourage parents to send their children to it? Will Sibal work for and ensure that the infrastructure in IITs are improved to world class standard so that the foreign students from developed countries don’t repent for their decision, if some decide for it?
Kapil Sibal however, has succeeded in dividing the older IITs and perhaps in this manner, he might be able to introduce the new system. As reported, IIT Delhi and Bombay could back IIT Kanpur in holding their own entrance test or join it, while Madras, Roorkee, Kharagpur and Guwahati will stand by the Centre’s decision. I doubt if the directors are not divided for certain vested interest and some are siding with the minister for certain personal reasons, perhaps benefiting them somehow.
‘One-nation one-test’ proposal will certainly affect IITs’ exclusiveness. A decision such as this can’t be agreed upon by vote as claimed by Sibal and can’t be executed so abruptly. Sibal would have taken time and convinced all the faculty and alumni representatives. After all, Sibal himself a professional must understand the mindsets of professionals for a major change. IIT-JEE has a long clean history and has been a brand itself.
However, a quick final decision will be necessary for distressing those who are to appear in 2013 examination. It should certainly not suffer from the present policy paralysis in the government. It is unfortunate that the media reports, grouping of the older IITs in two: one with Sibal and the other with exclusive IIT-JEE are also varying. Again, frustratingly, the different bodies from the same institute are expressing different views.
Let the final change be brought in 2015 after due debate and discussion.
Will Mr. Sibal agree or will he push it harder for getting one more feather in his cap of so-called reforms in education?