[Assam] About Engineering/ It is everywhere.Image of IIT-tarnished?
a.saha at alumni.tufts.edu
Thu Aug 26 23:16:35 IST 2010
I agree with all your points. In addition, I think that one way of removing
the vast subsidies that the whole of India provides to the few who get in to
the IITs would be this:
1. Recognize that the subsidy from the rest of the country stems from the
fact that the institution spends more (by orders of magnitude) to educate
the student than is paid by the student in terms of tuition and other fees.
2. Recognize that an IIT education vastly increases the earning potential
(and the likelihood of realizing it) and, consequently, future cash flows
associated with the recipient of the education - the student.
Then do the following:
1. Raise tuition fees such that they are realistic reflections of the
cost of education.
2. Keep admissions needs-blind but offer the following:
- Student may choose to pay the full tuition fees from his/her own
pocket with no further obligations.
- Student may choose to pay the subsidized rate (which may be the
current level or some other drastically reduced level) or
nothing at all in
return for six (or some other number) years of public service or in a
pre-approved private sector in the country that is determined
in a list by independent policy/economic agencies from time to
time based on
the overall needs of the economy.
- Student may take out federal/private loans, which will be readily
available with the "admission acceptance" being the sole
the need to demonstrate deep establishment or family connections/wealth),
and whose servicing will start only after graduation. The
student will be
free to join any sector of the economy in the country and/or be
the world with the only obligation of paying back the loan.
Although this does not speak to the admission-method issues you identified
in your email, at least this corrects the gross "tax" that is levied on the
rest of the country for the benefit of a select few.
On Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 12:47 PM, Chan Mahanta <cmahanta at gmail.com> wrote:
> The following was my response to a private e-mail regarding IITs' admission
> policies being challenged for not being merit-based enough. First scroll
> down to read the original post.
> Begin forwarded message:
> > From: Chan Mahanta <cmahanta at gmail.com>
> > Date: August 25, 2010 9:48:34 AM CDT
> > Subject: Re: It is everywhere.Image of IIT-tarnished?
> > Greetings ***.
> > Thanks for including me in this private mailing list. I hope recipients
> of my response here will excuse me for invading their privacy. Ordinarily I
> would not have done that, but I had an interest this particular subject and
> banking on your knowledge of your circle of friends' interests, figured
> they may be interested in my two bits as well .
> > Some of you in this list I know are IIT-KGP (or other IIT )graduates, as
> I was too ( KGP, Arch. 68). Actually I was the third of three successive
> siblings who went to IIT-KGP. Two of my elder brothers studied electronics
> engineering and I did architecture. I have no idea what the acceptance
> criteria were , way back in 1963 when I entered IIT-KGP or earlier. Or for
> that matter later. I know I got in by the skin of my teeth :-). I came from
> what used to be known as the Pre-University course in Science, a post
> high-school, one year junior college course at Cotton College, Guwahati (
> barely 6 months in reality), which was way below par in its curriculum,
> compared to say St. Xaviers' Coillege or Southpoint School or Calcutta
> Boys' School from Kolkata and other such preparatory schools and colleges
> from elsewhere in India whose grads. dominated the roster of accepted
> students. They also got the choicest disciplines of engineering, like
> Electronics, Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical and so forth, depending on
> test scores alone, never mind whether they had any aptitude for the
> > I did pretty poorly in my test, did not know half the subjects in
> physics, chemistry, algebra and so forth. I got in primarily because I
> wanted architecture and had enough to show for my aptitude and because one
> of my interviewers was the Head of the Dept. of Architecture, who definitely
> wanted me in. My class of about 30 students of architecture had exactly
> seven who WANTED architecture. The rest were assigned to it, because they
> did not cut it for other engineering subjects, because of their
> not-so-enviable test scores, like mine.
> > So far so good. There was this APPEARANCE of an entirely merit based
> system, merit being measured by the entrance test scores ALONE that everyone
> thinks WAS or IS the only RIGHT way to do it. It was there then and
> apparently it is there now.
> > That is what *I* take issue with, for a number of reasons:
> > A: The IITs were entirely supported by public funding. All of India paid
> for it. But certain regions and states hogged those resources with their
> children, while others were left holding the bag. In my batch we were just
> three from Assam in a class of over 400 or so freshmen at IIT-KGP. Why were
> there so few from Assam? We just could not cut it with our 'MERIT', merit
> measured with a set of skewed scales that rewarded those who could attend
> those choice private or public schools and colleges from more advanced
> regions or states.
> > But were we any LESS than those others, deemed more meritorious? Not by a
> long shot! It was hard getting in, harder the first year in, but we not
> only made up but did pretty well. Two out of us three topped or nearly
> topped our graduating classes.
> > My point? My point is that this so-called MERIT based system in which
> entrance test scores ALONE is the measure, is a grossly unfair system.
> India is NOT a homogeneous country. Access to education and its quality is
> unimaginably disparate. Under the circumstances, it is not only FAIR, it is
> the RIGHT thing to RECOGNIZE and give adequate consideration and weightage,
> in ADDITION to the merit measured by test entrance scores, so that
> educationally less advantaged students from regions like Assam and elsewhere
> get a FAIR shot at entering these premier institutions, supported by ALL of
> > B: Even though the landscape of what the choicest disciplines of study
> were or are, has changed over the decades and will continue to evolve, one
> > undebatable fact stands out that A VERY LARGE percentage of IIT
> graduates, trained with the country's scant resources leave the country to
> become successful people in fields that have nothing to do with engineering
> or other fields they were trained in.
> > What is wrong with that, you might ask.
> > This is what is wrong: Engineering and technical education requires a lot
> of expensive infrastructure that India expends in its IITs at the cost of
> other institutions, whose grads. don't get to leave the country in such high
> numbers to become accountants, business managers, stock-brokers and what
> > Not that anything is wrong with that as far as the individual is
> concerned, but it IS wrong for India to expend disproportionately high
> amount of its resources
> > to produce non-engineering professionals who leave the country for good.
> > Two things need attention here:
> > * Admit only those who can demonstrate engineering aptitude for
> the field they opt for, in addition to the merit measured by test scores.
> > Others can always go to institutions better suited for their
> personal needs, thus making room for the truly technically oriented. In
> spite of the
> > remarkable bank of intellect, India's appalling lack of
> engineering and technical innovation or achievements is a proof of the
> > system's inadequacy.
> > * Inject some means of promoting and holding its graduates instead
> of leaving for good.
> > Apologies for extending my two bits to two-hundred.
> > Best.
> > Chandan Mahanta
> > St. Louis
> > On Aug 24, 2010, at 11:09 AM, Kumud Das wrote:
> >> HC notice to Centre over IIT admissions
> >> Aditi Tandon/Tribune News Service
> >> New Delhi, April 8
> >> A development that has put under scanner the admission procedure of
> IITs, the Delhi High Court today issued notices to the Ministry of Human
> Resource Development, IIT Council and Joint Admission Board (JAB) on a
> petition alleging irregularities, tampering and fraud in the system. And the
> move has come three days ahead of the IIT-JEE 2010, in which about five lakh
> students are slated to appear on April 11.
> >> Notably, this is the first comprehensive PIL ever filed against IITs,
> which raises questions over the admission procedure — from “arbitrary”
> fixing of cut-offs to “benefit” some students and eliminate top scorers,
> unattended errors in question setting and evaluation, tampering and
> shredding of optical response sheets (ORS) in unexplained haste, selection
> of faculty wards and closed admission counselling resulting in vacant seats.
> Even today, five to 20 per cent vacancies exist across IITs despite huge
> demand for seats.
> >> Slamming the current “non-transparent” admission system, petitioner Prof
> Rajeev Kumar of IIT Kharagpur sought court’s intervention for a special
> investigation team (SIT) inquiry into the alleged irregularities in all JEEs
> from 2006. He demanded that a committee of independent experts, not from
> IITs, be formed to fix rational cut-offs, which students must attain to
> qualify for admissions to the institutes. The current system of fixing
> cut-offs is ad-hoc.
> >> In February, The Tribune had highlighted gross deficiencies in IIT
> admissions based on the information Kumar had gathered under the RTI on JEEs
> 2006 to 2009. Shocking revelations followed on how 994 top scorers failed to
> make it to IITs while low scoring candidates succeeded in doing so. In JEE
> 2006, brilliant candidates were rejected because IITs calculated cut-offs in
> a faulty, arbitrary manner.
> >> “Those with 156 marks were selected; those with 279 rejected,” the
> petition states, seeking SIT probe into JEEs, especially 2006, which saw
> wards of IIT faculty scoring high marks in chemistry. The marks they
> obtained were in typical patterns which couldn’t have occurred except
> through ORS tampering, the petition alleges.
> >> Kumar also requested the court to institute IIT-JEE reforms under
> independent experts, rather than a closed panel of four IIT directors, which
> the HRD ministry recently constituted.
> >> Besides, as earlier reported by The Tribune how current IIT practices
> (they don’t disclose answers on the day of test) aided coaching institutes,
> the PIL seeks directions to JAB to release model answers soon after the JEE
> is held. The court has put the ministry and IIT Council on notice for May
> >> The whistleblower IIT professor
> >> Aditi Tandon/TNS
> >> New Delhi, April 8
> >> He has braved threats for taking on the IITs and slogged three years to
> get the institutes to answer his RTI queries. For Rajeev Kumar, it’s all in
> the game that started in 2006 when the 50-year-old computer engineering
> professor at IIT Kharagpur decided to fight for transparency in the IIT
> admission process, which has remained opaque since 1961 when the institutes
> were set up under the central act.
> >> Armed with RTI, Kumar finally got the highly-secretive IITs to disclose
> their admission secrets. The information he obtained under the RTI Act now
> forms the basis of the first PIL against the IIT-JEE system, which has
> operated arbitrarily all these years.
> >> “My battle began when my son missed the IIT seat by three marks in JEE.
> He got through all other exams. I was curious to know why he missed the
> IIT,” Kumar tells The Tribune.
> >> While his son went on to join BTech computer science at Jadavpur
> University in Kolkata, Kumar went on to dissect the IIT system, exposing one
> admission anomaly after the other and forcing even HRD Minister Kapil Sibal
> to sit up and think. The latter advised him to go to court or represent
> before the ministry instituted IIT-JEE reform panel. But Kumar had a
> problem. He couldn’t have represented his case before people who were part
> of the problem. Hence, his demand to the Delhi High Court to order SIT probe
> into JEEs for admission to 15 IITs, Institute of Technology, BHU, and Indian
> School of Mines, Dhanbad.
> >> Incidentally, it was on September 5, 2006, when the Chief Information
> Commissioner ordered the UPSC to reveal its admission procedure that Kumar
> saw some hope. So started his journey to discover how IITs selected their
> students. For the first time in 2006, IITs revealed marks students obtained
> in the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE).
> >> “When they released the marks in August, students couldn’t find a
> pattern to selections. My son with a high aggregate of 224 marks was
> rejected but a low scorer with 154 got a counseling call,” says Kumar.
> >> He eventually forced the IITs to admit before the CIC that there was “no
> set procedure to determine cut-off marks”. Till date, the institutes haven’t
> been able to explain how they reached the cut-off in JEE 2006 whereby 994
> top scorers were rejected.
> >> The court will help, believes Kumar.
> >> Kumud C. Das,
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