New Delhi: India’s human resources development (HRD) ministry has decided that the Joint Entrance Examination (Main), the qualifying test for admission to premier National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and other top engineering schools, will no longer give 40% weightage to Class XII scores as they used to.
It has also decided to increase the fees at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) from Rs.90,000 a year to Rs.2 lakh a year—still lower than that charged by lesser private engineering colleges, and also lower than the Rs.6 lakh it costs the government per student per year at the IITs. Both changes, which had been expected, were communicated through a ministry statement.
Class XII scores were given 40% weightage in JEE (Main) after former HRD minister Kapil Sibal argued that an over-emphasis on the competitive entrance examination was forcing students into the arms of greedy coaching institutions, working to the disadvantage of girl students, and encouraging students to ignore their school leaving examinations.
After a study last year showed that none of these objectives had been met by the change, experts started calling for the ministry to revert to the previous system.
Admission to the IITs will continue to be on the basis of the performance of students in JEE (Advanced). Class XII scores will not have any weightage. However, the IITs do have an eligibility criteria that involves Class XII scores—a student has to score at least 75% or be in the top 20 percentile. The ministry said that criteria is now being extended to NITs. Students from scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs) will need only 65%.
The ministry also sought to lighten the blow of the fee increase by announcing several exemptions. Students who are from SCs or STs, or differently abled, will get a “complete fee waiver,” it said in the statement. Students from families with incomes less than Rs.1 lakh a year get a “full remission”.
Those from families with incomes between Rs.1 lakh and Rs.5 lakh get a 66.67% remission. And all students “have access to interest free loan under the ‘Vidya Lakshmi Scheme’ for the total portion of the tuition fee”, the ministry said. Earlier this week, while speaking at a function in Surat, HRD minister Smriti Irani said the concessions will benefit nearly 50% of the 60,471 pupils enrolled in India’s top engineering institutes.