HRD ‘ironing out’ hurdles to bringing single engg exam

NEW DELHI: Days before an expert committee gives its report on ‘one exam, one rank, one counselling’ for admission into IITs/NITs/IISERs and other engineering colleges, HRD ministry is working towards making it a reality and finding ways to remove the possible roadblocks.

For instance, the ministry wants the responsibility of conducting the single test to be given to IITs so that quality does not suffer. Highly placed sources said, “There can be varied questions, both knowledge-based and analytical. JEE (advanced) through which students are taken into IITs is mostly analytical. A single question paper with right mix of questions could help students with different calibre.” A ministry official said a single test will be scientific and test merit without putting too much stress on students. It will even help in moving towards a system of single counselling. “The process will become seamless. Right now students have to go through two kinds of coaching, one for IITs and another for rest of engineering institutions like NITs etc. Single test will save parents lot of money,” the official said.

One of the reasons for pushing ‘one exam’ is the debt cycle that the mushrooming coaching industry has created. It is currently billed to be worth Rs 10,000 crore. The ministry official says many students have two kinds of coaching as a result of which they start their engineering careers with a debt of Rs 7 to Rs 10 lakh. “One exam is the only way out to lessen the dominance of coaching centres,” sources said.

Ministry is hopeful that the expert committee headed by Ashok Misra, former director of IIT, Bombay, will give a positive report. Sources said that during the IIT Council meeting there were different opinions on the issue but there is a general agreement that students undergo a lot of stress. “Even Joint Admission Board of IITs is in favour of single examination. We expect report to deal with implementation issues,” ministry official says.