In what may mark a major shift away from the current scheme of admission to the country’s bluechip engineering institutions, an HRD ministry panel has recommended 70% weightage to class XII marks and 30% for performance in an aptitude test to be conducted more than once a year, for the IIT-Joint Entrance Examination.
A cut-off list on the basis of the class XII result and the aptitude test will be prepared in the month of June every year and the top 40,000 will have to take the additional test for IITs. Right now, more than four lakh students appear for IIT-JEE in a single test.
The panel headed by Damodar Acharya, director of IIT Kharagpur, that gave its report to HRD minister Kapil Sibal on Wednesday, has also suggested that the aptitude test be an ongoing affair which students can take more than once.
However, the best score in the aptitude test — which will have questions on reasoning, numerical ability and communication skills — should be taken into account. It is only the add-on test for the top students that will have questions on physics, mathematics and chemistry. However, the panel has put a restriction on the number of times the add-on test can be taken.
Also, unlike the present system, right at the beginning, students will have to give their choice of IIT or other institutes — like Indian Institute of Science Education & Research — whose admission test is conducted through JEE. Students will also have to spell out their choice of branch of engineering or stream of pure science.
HRD sources said the ministry’s first task would be to bring all state boards as well as CBSE on par with each other by developing a comprehensive weighted performance index so that there is no gross inequality among them and students do not suffer. Already, a core science and mathematics syllabus has been mooted by the HRD ministry and approved by the Council of Board of Secondary Education. “The move will ensure that students from small towns and even those who cannot afford expensive coaching can aim to be in IITs,” a source said.