The preparatory course under the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will have 107 students studying the one-year programme this year. While the number is lower than last year —185 — authorities said more students are making their way into the one-year programme because they don’t make the mark in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Person With Disability (PWD) quotas.
“For the past couple of years, many seats under ST and PWD quotas are going vacant which gives more chances to students to be allotted the preparatory course. This helps the institute work on those students and prepare them for the course of their choice for the next academic year,” said Dr K V Krishna, chairperson of Joint Seat Allocation Authority (JoSAA) 2016. He said the Scheduled Caste (SC) quota seats have had no vacancy, therefore no one from that category could make it to the preparatory course in the past few years.
This arrangement started in the mid-90s after the IITs wrote to the government for permission to run a year-long preparatory course to help quota students lagging behind in the JEE race. Each year, the IITs provide concessions to reserved category students by lowering entry levels, going to 50% below the last general category student’s marks to do justice to the quota. But to reach the colleges’ full capacity, scores are relaxed once again and students are selected to be coached in maths, physics and chemistry and English for a year before they can join the IITs after clearing an internal test. Once students have cleared the test, they are assigned a seat in the course they had opted for in the next academic year without having them sit for another round of Joint Entrance Examination (JEE).
Not only have students benefitted with this option, institutes, too, are happy to train more students from the reserved categories to bring them at a par with their counterparts. “Almost every year, not all seats under the reserved categories get taken owing to the cut-offs, so this year-long process helps the institute train students well. We also get to help students understand their strengths, so they choose the right course in the next academic year,” said Dr Rajinder Singh, dean (under-graduate), student affairs, IIT-Kharagpur.
Of the 107 students who qualified for the preparatory course this year, 26 and 18 have been allotted at IIT-(BHU) Varanasi and IIT-Kharagpur respectively. Indian School of Mines (ISM), Dhanbad, has been allotted 11 students, whereas IIT-Roorkee and Kanpur have 10 and seven students allotted under the course. IITs in Bombay, Delhi, Bhubaneswar and Gandhinagar have been allotted two students each.