Disapproving of the growing influence of coaching centres that put engineering aspirants through a grind, making it difficult for them to concentrate on their senior secondary examinations, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said on Saturday that curtailing the power of such institutions was one of the objectives of the recommendation for a common entrance test.
The coaching institutions “allow the rich and privileged to get their children admitted there and [these students] have a natural advantage [over financially weak students]. Coaching means focussing only on the IIT entrance examination without bothering about Class XII examinations. But this is not the best way to get the best students in the IIT programme,” the Minister said speaking to journalists after the 56th annual convocation of IIT-Kharagpur,
The report of the committee, looking into the proposal for a single-test for engineering admissions, was expected by the beginning of August. “I do not want the students to sit for 20 to 30 examinations. We must reduce the pressure on them and we shall do whatever it takes to lessen the pressure. Many proposals may come our way but we will choose the best for the system that allows the institutions not to depend entirely on one examination for the admission process.”
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Prometric, the US-based testing agency which conducts the CAT exam, is all set to deliver CAT 2010 successfully. The managing director of Prometric India, Mr. Soumitra Roy said, “We are all geared up for CAT 2010 and the biggest improvements will be in three key areas of site readiness, registration and test delivery”. Prometric is trying to improve its technique and paying more attention to attributes such as physical infrastructure, arrangement of test centers, seating arrangement and power backup. Mr. Soumitra Roy said, “We will be giving more intensive training to the test centre staff who will then undergo a certification programme.”
The Indian Institutes of Technology have rejected the idea of selecting the candidates through a Common Engineering Entrance Test for all engineering colleges. HRD ministry-appointed committee said in its report, “Scores in a well-designed National Aptitude Test should be used to capture parameters of interest such as raw intelligence, aptitude, general awareness, comprehension and written communication skills. NAT should not require extensive preparation and coaching. The questions should be designed in such a way that it would not require inputs beyond plus 2 level.” To make the exam process more friendly for students, the committee has proposed to make NAT an online test conducted throughout the year.
After the first list of selected candidates got declared, it’s surprising to see that almost 469 seats reserved for OBC candidates are still waiting to be occupied. According to the Joint Entrance Examination organizing committee, some candidates were not able to grab a seat despite a relaxation in cut-off marks & hence, several candidates failed to utilize the reservation for OBC status. Mr.TS Natarajan, JEE organizing chairman and professor at IIT Madras said, "The IITs had set aside 2,570 seats for OBCs, but only 2,023 were filled. Some candidates could not establish their OBC status. Also, there were not enough qualified candidates. Further, many got the courses of their choice as general category students. The unfilled seats have therefore been transferred to the general category."
The Board of Governors of Medical Council of India (MCI) has put forward a proposal to conduct a common entrance test for medical courses from the next academic session. This common entrance test will cover both under-graduate and post graduate courses conducted by private and government medical colleges. The purpose of this initiative is to reduce the burden of students. President of the Board, Dr. S.K Sarin said, "A common entrance will reduce the hassles for students appearing for medical exams. At present, students have to give 10–15 different exams for medical courses, which can be highly stressful to both the student and his family. A common entrance exam will allow a student to give his best shot at one go."