In an attempt to broker a compromise, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has intervened in a row between IIT faculty members and the human resource development (HRD) ministry over admissions to the premier institutions.
However, while the compromise proposed by the HRD ministry after the PM's intervention may represent a victory for protesting faculty members, it will — if accepted — dramatically alter the conditions of eligibility for admission to IITs.
Sibal had initiated reforms in the IIT-JEE with the intention of slashing the number of exams that students need to take, reducing the influence of coaching classes, and making school education more relevant. His proposals were based on concerns that students were ignoring their studies to attend coaching classes.
Based on the recommendations of committees set up by Sibal, the IIT Council decided to give 40% weightage to the board examination percentile, and 30% weightage to each of the two tests (basic and advanced) for IIT selection.
But after the IIT faculty opposed employing board scores for the final selection, it agreed to use them only to shortlist students for the second test — which the institutes would conduct.
When the faculty continued to object, the government asked the IITs to consider a new proposal wherein all students in the top 20 percentile of their respective boards would stand on an equal footing. The others, however, would have to give up their IIT dreams.