Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati director Gautam Barua has questioned a compromise proposal on IIT admission reforms ahead of a key meet aimed at hammering out a consensus between the government and protesting faculty.
In an email to the IIT-Guwahati faculty on Monday, Barua argued that the new proposal to make eligible students appear for two entrance tests for the IITs will "make life difficult for students by making them sit for one more exam" than necessary.Barua's email raises questions over whether a hastily called meeting of the IIT Council on Wednesday will end a months-long tussle between HRD minister Kapil Sibal and IIT faculty over admissions. It also represents the latest twist to a battle that has left thousands of students confused about admissions in 2013, and driven a deep wedge between teachers and Sibal, who may not attend the council meet to avoid criticism that he has hurt the autonomy of the IITs.
Under the compromise proposal that Sibal wants the Council to agree on, the Board percentile scores will be used to screen top 20% students from each Board. These students will then have to clear a mains test to be eligible for an advanced test for selection into the IITs.
Barua is arguing that the IITs should just conduct the Joint Entrance Examination in its current format, with the eligibility bar raised from 60% in the Board exam to a top 20 percentile score. Aspirants then won't need to appear for two tests.
He is the first director to question the latest proposal, which was accepted by other directors last Saturday. Barua did not attend that meeting, and was not reachable for comment on Tuesday.
The IIT Guwahati director has been one of the staunchest supporters of Sibal's original proposal to weigh Board percentile scores in selecting students to the IITs. But after the senates of IIT Kanpur and IIT Delhi resolved to conduct their own admission tests in protest against the move to use Board performances, Sibal agreed to the compromise plan.