The human resource development (HRD) ministry’s plans to set up a national-level testing service which will devise a test to screen candidates before the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) has evoked a mixed response from experts. While the test has been proposed to minimise the need for coaching, experts say it could have a reverse effect and push more people to seek help to prepare for the exam.
Those aspiring to join the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Centrally-funded Technical Institutions and other engineering colleges across the country will have to take an aptitude test before they take the JEE.
According to Professor PV Balaji, former chairperson, JEE, “Replacing JEE (Main) by an aptitude test leads to additional coaching for such aptitude tests. So far, taking coaching for physics, chemistry and mathematics was enough for all entrance examinations. Now, there will be an additional requirement. The coaching industry will flourish further and parents and children will be under more stress. Even now, candidates appear for JEE (Main) and JEE (Advanced) more than once in the hope of improving their performance. If an aptitude test is conducted more than once, most students would want to take the test, and that too a number of times. Changing from physics, chemistry and mathematics to aptitude and conducting the exam more than once collectively results in extra coaching and increases stress.”
Reacting to the recommendations by various expert committees on reducing the burden of coaching on students for JEE, Aakash Chaudhry, director, Aakash Educational Services Pvt Ltd, says, “The new test will give students multiple opportunities to test their aptitude. Students will know before the Board exams if they are fit for the JEE and would be able to focus accordingly and prepare for a different exam, college or career. The new aptitude test also takes care of a student who is very good at a particular subject/area. You are testing them on specific subjects as well as on aspects such as aptitude and logical ability. The flip side, however, is that there would be an additional pressure and some students will seek coaching. The government should take steps to help students rather than kill the idea of seeking coaching. I think the new test is an outcome of incidents like Kota which should be controlled.”
Ramesh Batlish, head, FIITJEE Noida, agrees. “The aptitude test will further burden students. It will increase the need for coaching rather than eliminating it.”