More work, greater emphasis on Class 12, a sudden reorientation of mindset: students appearing for the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) next year are fretting over the announcement of the new pattern merely 10 months before they sit for the exam.
JEE is the admission criterion to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
On Monday, the human resources development ministry announced a two-part admission process next year for the IITs, including a first part screening process followed by a second exam that would determine the JEE merit list. In the first part weightage will be given to a student's Class 12 board exam based on a percentile score. “It's wrong to do it when we have just 10 months left to give the exam,” said Harsh Khara, 17, a JEE aspirant. “They could have brought it in for 2014. We will have to prepare harder for the boards now. We will need to reorient ourselves.”
With two exams, one main and one advanced, students suspect they will have to work harder.
Senate members of IIT-Bombay also pointed out that it would be unfair to those candidates who had taken the exam this year and plan to attempt the exam again next year.
The ministry's rationale for bringing in the reforms includes doing away with the proliferation of coaching classes and bringing back importance into the school system. Coaching institutes see in the reforms further opportunities. IIT-ian's Pace is planning to open more junior colleges where students prepare for both JEE and Class 12, in addition to the six that are already operational in Mumbai.
“I am seeing a big rush for these integrated programmes,” said Praveen Tyagi, director of IITian's Pace, a coaching institute. “All my expansion has been along these lines.”