Thursday, March 26, 2015
COMMON COUNCELLING: Its NITs Vs IITs
Smriti Irani's human resource development ministry has told Delhi High Court that common counselling for admission into IITs and National Institutes of Technology would begin from the 2015-2016 academic session.
Last week, the IITs were criticised by the court for saying it would not be possible to begin the process this year as the software would not be tested and ready for use before admission counselling starts in June-July.
During counselling, students are asked to furnish their choice of institutes and courses on a priority basis. Top rankers in entrance exams are called first and allotted seats in their preferred institutions.
At present, the IITs and the NITs do their counselling separately, which means a candidate who gets an offer from both institutes can block seats in both and dump one at the last moment. In case of common counselling, a student will get an offer from only one institute - either an IIT or an NIT - at a time.
Last August, the high court had directed the Centre to ensure common counselling for the IITs and NITs from 2015-16 while hearing a PIL filed by Rajeev Kumar, an IIT Kharagpur faculty member.
The HRD ministry had then set up a technical committee to suggest the modalities for common counselling. The committee backed the proposal with a few riders.
But last week, the IITs filed an affidavit saying common counselling may not be possible this year. They suggested the IITs could hold "synchronised admission counselling" with the NITs, so that counselling for both institutions was conducted at the same time but separately.
This prompted the court, which was critical about the delay in fixing the software, to comment: "it is a pity that in the last nearly seven months, the needful has not been achieved." This led the HRD ministry to overrule the IIT decision, sources said.
NIT sources claimed the IITs were deliberately delaying common counselling to perpetuate the public hype about the IITs. Software was not an issue, they alleged.
"The IITs would like to perpetuate in government and the public mind a special status and consequent enhanced funding to the IIT system. In reality, like the caste system, it is hurting Indian technical education," claimed the NIT Rourkela director, Sunil Kumar Sarangi.
But H.C. Gupta, a former chairman of the IIT-JEE (Advanced) exam, said the software was key to common counselling and was not ready.
"Is the software ready? If ready, please demonstrate it to show that it works. The problem is if it does not work, it will give a bad name to IITs," Gupta said.
He said similar efforts had been made in 2013 when he was the JEE-Advanced chairman. But the software could not be tested and the plan had to be deferred.
About 45,000 students get admission to 30 NITs, four Indian Institutes of Information Technology and a few other institutions every year. About 10,000 students are admitted to the IITs and ISM Dhanbad.
Its true that software has to be tested thoroughly before implementation but with this issue in focua from last 2-3 years it should have been ready by now. It seems IIT s are bit reluctant as it might be embarassing especially for newer and lesser prefeered IITs if actually students opt for better NITs before them in a common councelling.