24 Jul

The faculty forum of IIT Kanpur and a senior IIT Kharagpur professor have slammed a blueprint for admissions reforms drafted by Institute directors, exposing deep divides within the premier institutions and pitting teachers against administrators. The rejection of their blueprint by the faculty also leaves the IIT directors sandwiched between criticism from their colleagues and the HRD ministry, which is also uncomfortable with the reform draft.

The IIT Kanpur faculty dismissed the blueprint prepared by a panel, led by the Kharagpur Institute’s Director Damodar Acharya, as unsubstantiated in a resolution passed at a meeting on July 14.

The panel was set up by HRD Minister Kapil Sibal to prepare an alternative to the IIT-Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE) and other entrance tests.

The resolution came on the heels of criticism of Acharya panel’s suggestions by IIT-K computer science professor Rajeev Kumar, who has placed an alternative on his web page.

The panel has suggested replacing the IIT-JEE and other engineering exams with a single National Aptitude Test scrutinising students’ “raw intelligence”. Students will be screened on the basis of their Board marks (70 per cent weightage) and their scores in the NAT (30 per cent), the panel proposed. Institutions like the IITs could take an add-on test for students screened through the NAT before finalising admissions.

But the ministry is opposed to a two-tier mechanism. It will also find it hard to prevent other institutions from creating a similar add-on test.

Kumar in his proposal, has questioned the panel’s argument that scores of students across boards can be normalised to  cover for differences in evaluation levels while calculating eligibility for admissions.

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