Sunday, June 10, 2012

IITs divided over common engg entrance


New Delhi, Jun 10,2012:  IITs appeared to be divided today over HRD ministry's 'one-nation one-test' proposal with the prestigious engineering institutions at Guwahati and Kharagpur opposing IIT-Kanpur's decision to conduct its own entrance exam from next year and backed the Centre's move. IIT-Delhi meanwhile is being pushed by its Alumni Association to follow the example of IIT-Kanpur and oppose the move initiated by HRD Minister Kapil Sibal.
    
Criticising the decision taken by IIT-Kanpur Senate yesterday, Director of IIT-Guwahati Gautam Barua said he was "surprised" at their "reaction." "I am sad actually that they have to take this extreme step for such a small matter," he said.
    
"Right now, we are not talking about one common entrance exam. We are basically talking about.... for having a common exam for NITs, IITs and IIITs. Whether this lead to a common exam for everybody, only time will tell," Barua said. Professor Damodar Acharya, Director of IIT-Kharagpur, said the institution does not have any objection to the Centre's move to conduct a common entrance exam for central engineering institutions.
    
At its meeting, the Senate of IIT-Kanpur had said the IIT Council's recent proposal on admissions is "academically and methodically unsound" and decided to go it alone. "In all likelihood, IIT-Delhi Senate seems to be geared up to follow IIT-Kanpur Senate," IIT Delhi alumni president Somnath Bharti told PTI.
    
Sources said a meeting of the Senate of the IIT-Delhi is likely to be held in the next 10 days and its decision is expected to be made known. HRD Minister Kapil Sibal on May 28 had announced that from 2013, aspiring candidates for IITs and other central institutes like NITs and IIITs will have to sit under a new format of common entrance test, which will also take teh plus two board results into consideration. Sibal had claimed that it was approved without dissent at a council consists of the IITs, the IIITs and the NITs.
    
He also said that the proposal had the backing of Senates of four of the seven IITs including Senates of IIT Guwahati, Kharagpur, Madras and Roorkee. As far as Bombay is concerned, they also supported, Sibal had said.    "There was not a single dissent. It was unanimously adopted. Therefore, I went forward," the minister had said.
    
Amid the heated debate over the issue, All India IIT Faculty Federation (AIIITFF) criticised the Government's move saying "it is in gross violation of the IITs academic autonomy". AIIITFF Secretary Atul K Mittal told PTI that the Centre
should maitain the status quo till the issue is resolved.  Bharti told PTI that the Allumni Association has decided to go ahead with its plan to file a PIL in the Delhi High Court on the IITs' autonomy issue next week.

The IITDAA will also seek an audience with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to urge him to restore the autnomy of IITs. The meeting took four decisions in which members of the Alumni Association applauded the "correct stand" taken by IIT Kanpur and urged IIT Delhi not to "give in to Government pressure".

Bharti said the Alumni Association has also decided to approach senior alumni of IIT Delhi in government and industry and request them to "publicly support" their cause to convince the government "not to play" with the autonomy of IITs. "If some steps have been taken contrary to it, they should be corrected and IITs' autonomy should be restored," Bharti said. He said it would be great if Delhi IIT could follow the line taken by Kanpur IIT.
Meanwhile, IIT-Kanpur has constituted a nine-member panel headed by Professor Niraj Mishra to implement its decision to conduct its own entrance examination from next year. As part of the preparations to conduct its own entrance test, the institute has constituted a nine-member committee, IIT-K media In-charge Deepak Gupta said. The committee will work on different aspects related to conducting the entrance exam, he said.

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