States unwilling to join new IIT-JEE format

A proposed new format for the Indian Institutes of Technology-Joint Entrance Exam (IIT-JEE) merges it with All India Engineering Entrance Exam (AIEEE) and states have been given freedom to decide on joining the common entrance exam.

However, except Haryana, Maharashtra and Gujarat, states at the Tuesday meeting did not express willingness to join the new JEE, said sources.

"Majority of states have not agreed to join the new format of common entrance exam for the state-run institutions," an official from the human resource development ministry said, declining to be named.

At the meeting, the states, however, did not oppose the adoption of the new pattern for central institutions.

A statement from the ministry said: "After detailed deliberations, the proposal for a common examination process for admission to engineering programmes was supported unanimously."

Most state ministers also disagreed on different criteria set for IITs and other institutions.

The new entrance test format combines IIT-JEE and AIEEE, and the successful candidates will be admitted to IITs, National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and other central institutions. The government proposal says within this format a different yardstick will be adopted for admission to IITs, which will only take students with higher percentage in the test.

States are opposed to this and have sought the same criteria for admission to IITs, NITs and Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs). HRD Minister Kapil Sibal remained non-committal on accepting this demand.

The new pattern, after the merger of AIEEE and IIT-JEE, will have two papers -- main and advanced -- and will also include a fixed weightage from the Class 12 board exam results.

IIT professors and alumni have opposed the move, saying it will dilute the standards of IITs.

"If the yardstick for admission to IITs and other institutions is made same, it will dilute the IITs as envisioned by first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru," IIT-Delhi Alumni Association president Somnath Bharti told IANS.

He called the proposal an "eyewash". "It will not reduce multiplicity of entrance tests, nor will it stop the coaching institutions. Rather coaching will now be given for all board exams, and the two papers for the JEE."

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