IIT shift to online counseling triggers concerns over misuse | delhi | Hindustan Times
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IIT shift to online counseling triggers concerns over misuse

The shift from a face-to-face to an online counseling process for the first time this year at the IITs has triggered concerns of potential misuse, amid complaints to faculty members.

delhi Updated: Jul 02, 2010 19:30 IST
Charu Sudan Kasturi

The shift at the IITs to online counseling for students who clear their entrance test to pick their course has triggered concerns within their faculty over whether the process can be misused amid complaints from aspirants.

Faculty members at IITs have told HT that they have received complaints – mostly through email – on the admission process. Till last year, all students had to attend physical counseling sessions to select their course.

These teachers – who cannot officially speak to the media under service rules -- argued that the “non-secure” nature of the online counseling website makes the process susceptible to misuse. The first round of the counseling is over but the IITs will have a second round to enable students to pick up any vacant seats that were available only to higher ranked students in the first round.

All general category students who received a rank in the IIT Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) this year were asked to go the website jee.iitm.ac.in/allotcourses to pick their stream and institution where they want to study. The options available to them were based on their rank.

But once on the website, only a student’s registration number and name were required to select his course and institution of choice. Once selected, this choice cannot be changed under the software employed by the IITs.

“A student’s registration number is not secret and can be known to several others, including competing students. Once they know this number and his name, they can pick a course for him in a manner that suits them,” a senior computer science professor argued.

The online counseling also offers less transparency than face-to-face sessions, some complaints argue.

A face-to-face counseling procedure allows all ranked students to meet, making it possible for them to assure themselves that the course and institute available to them is the best possible given their rank.

Physical counseling sessions ensure that students know their prospects in the second round of counseling – as they know exactly how many seats are vacant. The students can then choose to either pick seats at other non-IIT institutions or wait for the second round of IIT counseling.

The Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) in Allahabad offers similar counseling facilities online – each student can see exactly how many seats in a course are filled along with the ranks of students who have taken these seats.

But the online counseling process followed by the IITs this year does not allow students to see how many seats are vacant in different courses, and so denies them the possibility of knowing their prospects in the second round of counseling.