One nation, two tests

The crucial meeting between the IITs and the human resource and development ministry officials on Wednesday afternoon successful broke the deadlock over Common Entrance Test (CET). However, the minister Kapil Sibal skipped the meet. The contentious issue of the CET, which had been opposed by IIT, Kanpur, and IIT, Delhi, was eventually resolved, and a new compromise formula for the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) was accepted by all 15 IITs and the ministry.

M M Sharma, the chairperson of the Standing Council of IIT Council, explained the new format said, 'This is a unanimous decision of the council. The JEE Advanced examination will be held after JEE Main with a suitable time gap. Only the top 1.5 lakh  candidates including all categories in JEE MAIN will be qualified to appear in the JEE Advanced examination. While admissions to the IITs will be based only on category wise all India rank in JEE Advanced, subject to condition that such candidates are in the top 20 percentile of successful candidates of their boards in applicable categories.'

The JEE Advanced examination will be coordinated by two bodies of IIT faculty, the Joint Admission Board and the Joint Implementation Committee. These bodies conduct the JEE examination in the current format.

Though Sibal did not attend the meeting, a statement on his behalf was read out during the meet, which said, 'I apologise for being absent. We have perpetuated a complete disconnect between secondary and higher secondary education. We must address the issue of multiplicity of exams. The Yashpal committee has approved it and so did PM's advisory council. It is our duty to lessen the burden of multiple exams.' Sources in his ministry told Millennium Post that since this issue had become a Sibal versus IIT affair, the minister decided not to attend the meeting. His absence implied that he did not want to encroach upon the autonomy of IITs, sources added.

After the meet, Sibal issued a conciliatory statement, saying, 'I thank the council. There is still a long way to go. I'm sure all stakeholders will work together to meet four objectives to reduce coaching, increase importance of school examination, reduce the multiplicity of tests and ensure that there is no occasion to charge capitation fee. The present decision of the council is a step in that direction.'
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