Supplying a demand

The decision of the IITs to double their 'intake' is likely to be a greater stress-buster for students than the CBSE's proposal to provide an additional 15 minutes 'cooling off' time for examinees.
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Published on Feb 17, 2006 04:02 AM IST
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The decision of the IITs to double their 'intake' is likely to be a greater stress-buster for students than the CBSE's proposal to provide an additional 15 minutes 'cooling off' time for examinees. Across the world, the IIT entrance examination is seen as one of the most stringent student selection procedures. In 2005, a mere 5,000 IIT seats were fought over by close to 200,000 students. This year, the number appearing for the test was closer to 300,000. Add the new proposal to double available seats to a decision taken earlier this year to upgrade seven other technology colleges to IIT status and it's genuinely good news.

It is surprising that it has taken the IITs so long to 'expand'. This, however, calls for careful management as one assumes that the expansion will be carried out without diluting the IIT's USP of excellence. As more deserving students get the benefits of an IIT training, it may even help up the standards in other institutes and weed out many low-calibre private engineering colleges altogether. At the same time, the expansion will go a long way in providing much-needed muscle to India's efforts to become a knowledge power.

As for students facing their board examinations, 15 minutes of grace is welcome. But there is clearly a lot of work to be done to ensure that every Indian who meets the cut can be provided the opportunity of getting an education — engineering or otherwise — of a high standard.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2022