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Oct 21

A little off topic post today, its about education and academics, feel free to agree or disagree.

We had Kapil Sibal come across with a good proposal to raise the bar for IIT entrances to 80% in class 12th examinations. His comments were criticised heavily by leaders mostly from 4-5 backward states who claimed that their state boards actually give lesser percentages hence attaining 80% was tough. I could not disagree more. 80% is very easy to achieve in boards even for decent students, let alone the bright ones who are IIT material. What these people are worried about is that with these so called aspirants forced to study for school also, they might not be able to edge past the bright minds who actually deserve that IIT seat more than a person who just beats the system.

The 80% rule if it comes into affect will solve more things than the 2 year limit to JEE did. These days majority of the JEE toppers are from Kota and there is a good reason for that. These students arent exceptionally bright or gifted, but yes they are extremely hard working (I am sure we are mature enough to know the subtle yet very apparent difference).

The industry in Kota works as follows, the coaching centers have tie-ups with local schools who are somehow affiliated to CBSE(God knows how). Anyway, these students don’t even have to goto school for a single day and spend every living hour either eating, sleeping or studying for the IITJEE. Now most of these students are those who have sold off a lot of property in order to afford the 2 lakh rupees they need for a 2 year course. The problem is not with these students getting through the JEE exam. The problem is with the mockery that has been made of 11-12th class education.

11th and 12th class are supposed to be the specialised years in school, in major good schools a lot of emphasis is put on performing in these classes in order to succeed in life. But what the Kota system essentially does is that it provides the students with a short cut, the students are told to skip school and just study for the JEE thereby giving them an unfair advantage over possibly brighter students who might have been involved in their school academics as well as the JEE. Everyone knows these schools are fake, everyone knows these schools are flouting rules but still no action is taken. for these ‘special’ JEE students, no classes are there, no attendance requirement is there and no practicals are there. Only requirement is to mug up the guides in the market in order to get 60% marks in final board exams, all other exams may be optional.

By ensuring an 80% cutoff for the JEE, these schools will no longer be allowed to make a mockery of our education system. Equal emphasis on the boards and entrances would ensure that the hard working and bright students get through and not only those who chose to take shortcuts or go around the system. The coaching institutes are to blame for this mess and the only way to salvage the JEE is through the shutting down of these coaching institutes only.

This post is not a personal attack and please do not take it in that way in case you fall into the above category, its an attack on the system.

4 Responses to “Why revising of IITJEE percentages is a good idea”

  1. Sharat Says:

    Amit Varma offers a counterpoint on his blog :

    http://indiauncut.com/iublog/article/open-letter-to-kapil-sibbal-re-education/

    Indeed, why would Kota exist if our schooling system was already equipped to our students’ needs?

    You make a crucial assumption that the kids at Kota aren’t really very bright, but are tremendously hard working and have financial impetus that brighter, school-focused students may not have. Yes, they dont need to worry about the boards, but less bright ? I think that can’t be really validated.

    Even assuming you are correct on your above assumption, who is to say that intelligence is the sole prerogative for a person to get into IIT ? Why can hard work not be a criteria ? After all, hard work is much more easily quantifiable (in terms of results) than intelligence.

  2. WiseTechie Says:

    @Sharat – Kota exists for the purpose of providing short cuts and get through loopholes in the system. Schooling is enough for a child’s development and thats what its supposed to do. The JEE itself needs to be more in line with school syllabus than testing high funda. Kota doesnt do much for the development of a child the way a school does.

    I never said students in Kota are less bright, I said that less brighter students who didnt have to worry about board exams may be able to surpass those are are brighter and goto school and also have a more well rounded personality.

    I am no one to decide what the JEE should or should not test, the IITs conduct tests on phy,chem and maths. If they wanted to test hard work, then they could have used better metrics for that. On more than one occasion have I heard IIT dean/profs saying IITs get the ‘brightest’ students of India. The case should be taken up with them also.

    Also, how can you say hard work is more quantifiable than brightness even in terms of results ? Excess of hardwork might negate brightness in others though, but you cant say that hardwork was measured. Also the people in good schools might be doing more hard work than Kota students but because they have to do more than 1 thing, they get left behind.

    Analytical skills IMHO should be tested for 12th passouts alongwith math, chem and phy.

    People have been talking about IITJEE reform for a long time, making it objective was supposed to be a start to this, but IIT Kanpur totally messed it up with a farzi objective paper for IITJEE 2006 whose cutoffs they havent been able to explain. the coaching centers exist to thrive on the fact that JEE tries to go above the CBSE level. Why cant the IITs test students on CBSE level stuff so students dont have to sail in 2 boats.

    My main argument is that its no longer a level playing field and it should be made a level playing field again for everyone, no one should have any problem with that

  3. Rohil Says:

    Hi,

    I tend to disagree.

    1. Your arguments are based on what happens in Kota which follows the CBSE pattern across all its schools where as you mention initially, that leaders from few of the backward states (backward ? why is this a factor ?) are speaking up against the 80% rule because it is difficult to get this percentage in their “state” boards and not CBSE.

    So, how come CBSE and state boards being different put these “backward” states or leaders at a faulty positions ?

    And getting percentage in state boards (UP, Bihar etc..) is VERY difficult as compared to CBSE. CBSE is a nothing but a joke since last 5-6 years (piece of cake to get 90%+) whereas state board exams, at a lot of places, is still a very hard nut to crack. 80% is crossed by just a few in a hundred.

    However, I totally support the 80% cutoff in CBSE. But this cutoff %ge should be around 65% for the state boards.

    Thanks

  4. Rohit Says:

    How should the cutoff be decided for all the boards that exist in India? Remember that during some year the examination might be easier or tougher than usual. It is not possible to be fair to each and every board’s students but what we can achieve is be fair to most of the students who come through CBSE.

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