PM assures autonomy of IITs

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday assured members of the All India IIT Faculty Federation [AIIITFF] that the autonomy of the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology [IITs] would remain ‘intact’.

Federation members, who include faculty from all IITs, met the prime minister here Friday morning to seek his intervention in the new common entrance test format, which they believe will dilute the IITs.

‘Dr Manmohan Singh showed immense patience and listened to our issues and concerns. He has asked us to remain engaged in dialogue with the HRD ministry and assured us he’ll talk to Mr Kapil Sibal [HRD minister],’ AIIITFF president Sanjeev Sanghvi told media persons after the meeting.

Federation members stressed at the meeting that IITs should remain in control of the admission process to their institutes, and that any new entrance test format should not be implemented in the 2013 session.

The federation also raised the issue of giving weightage to school board marks - called normalisation - in the admission process.

‘Normalisation of board marks needs more study,’ AIIITFF secretary A K Mittal said.

Prof S K Das from IIT Madras clarified that they did not object to the proposal in totality, but it required more homework.

‘We don’t oppose the proposal but we want that the examination be conducted by the IITs only and not by an outside agency. There are two parts to the exam, screening and final selection, and at least the final selection should be in our hands,’ Das said.

The federation, along with IIT alumni associations, have been opposing the new format entrance test as it incorporates a non-IIT format. The proposed format also includes a fixed weightage for school board marks.

Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal had earlier declared that the common entrance would not effect the autonomy of the IITs.
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