Candidates aspiring to get admitted to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) had reason to cheer when the human resource development ministry and the IIT council decided to introduce a change in the eligibility criteria for JEE (Advanced) last week. One is eligible for the entrance test by scoring 75% marks in the Class 12 board examination.
Currently, only those who are in the top 20 percentile are eligible for admission, once they clear the JEE (Main) and JEE (Advanced). If this is implemented, how will it affect the students? Experts believe it will benefit students in more ways than one.
“This move will give a push to the board exam concept. This is a welcome step by the IIT Council to give a chance to every aspiring student to be a part of these prestigious institutes. The quality and intake of students will not be affected by this move. In fact, you never know we might find more talented students,” says Ashok Kumar, president, IIT Delhi Alumni Association.
The decision came after some of the candidates were ineligible for admission even though they performed well in JEE (Advanced) and obtained distinction in the Class 12 exam. This is because of the very high 20 percentile cut-off in some of the state boards.
“In order to be inclusive and not miss out on candidates who get distinction in Class 12 exams and do well in JEE (Advanced), the criterion has been modified. For admission to IITs and ISM Dhanbad, a candidate must satisfy at least one of the following two criteria: He/she should be within the category-wise top 20 percentile of successful candidates in his/her respective Class 12 (or equivalent) board examination and he/she must have secured 75% (for general or OBC-NCL) or 70% (SC, ST or PwD) of aggregate marks in the Class 12 (or equivalent) board exam. The quality and difficulty level of the JEE (Advanced) would remain the same. The focus of the JEE continues to test the understanding of concepts and their applications. The change is merely to be more inclusive,” says a spokesperson from IIT Bombay.
Since the level of board exams and patterns vary from state to state, the top 20 percentile criterion could not do justice alone, says Aakash Chaudhry, director, Aakash Education Services Ltd. “The 75% criterion sounds reasonably acceptable, considering the state board exams for UP and others are relatively tough as compared to CBSE and ICSE boards,” he adds. Professor MK Panigrahi, member of the Joint Admission Board (JAB) 2014, agrees.
“This would come as a relief to students from different state boards such as Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu who were among the most affected by the earlier criteria with their cut-offs going as high as 90%. There were cases such as that of a student who scored 919 but lost out because of one mark as he failed to qualify through the top 20 percentile norm. The JAB decided that even if a student does not figure in the 20 percentile category, he could get into the IITs, provided he meets the minimum marks prescribed by the Council.”