Central Board of Secondary
How IIT-JEE is becoming the stronghold of CBSE, urban
For very long the venerated and coveted IITs and their
entrance exams have been considered as the great leveler in India, a country
where inequality and diversity are two sides of the coin. Students from
villages, from uneducated backgrounds and low economic strata have qualified for
these exams. But now this notion seems to have turned on its head.
A statistical analysis of the results of 2012 admission tests
by scientists at Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) in Kolkata shows that
certain Boards, students from high income families, and urban areas bag most of
the IIT seats. In fact, among those who had registered, students from higher
income group have a four times higher success rate than those from lower income
As for the Boards, IITs picked over 57% of their selected
students in 2012 from CBSE, a board that represents 6% of their target group.
Isn’t that shrinking the supply base of these institutions to
a disastrously narrow band? And if you’ve followed the rather messy process of
“improving” the supply base of IITs – not to get just factory-produced students
whose primary (and secondary) aim in life becomes to ‘crack’ the admission test
and then lose steam when the actual learning starts at IITs – then you’d see
below how even the new system that was adopted in 2013 beats the entire purpose
of admissions revamp downright hollow. Predictably, the preliminary analysis of
2013 JEE-Advanced results shows that CBSE predominance continues.
The cat and mouse game of ‘normalization’
In an exemplary act of transparency (and in the interest of
the people), ISI has made public the entire minutes of meetings and
deliberations that took place over the last two years leading to the 2013 IIT
revamped entrance test. ”Why there was a lag between the last meeting and the
publication last week”, says Debasis Sengupta of ISI. “We just wanted to put
forth everything before the public.” Beyond that he’d not say anything except
lament that all good intention behind the revamp remains just that – an
intention. IITs are still not selecting the brightest students, if anything, the
reality distortion field for the Boards, other than the CBSE, looks more
Because there are dozens of Class XII Boards, a long-drawn
process was adopted to arrive at a new admission process that gave weightage to
entrance exam scores and normalized class scores.
“When performances from multiple exams are to be combined, it
is usually apples and oranges. So extensive simulations on past data has to be
conducted to make sure the outcomes are fair. I very much doubt if any of this
was done. More thought and simulation has gone into the Duckworth-Lewis system
in cricket,” says V Vinay, chairman of LimberLink Technologies and President of
the Indian Association for Research in Computing Science.
Debasis Sengupta says a lot of work went into the statistical
inputs that ISI gave for the normalisation process. But as the documents show,
none of the suggestions was adhered to.
In short, the cut-off scores for IITs are too “weak” and not
the best way to select really good students, especially students with analytical
and problem solving skills.
Courtesy : First Post