“IIT Council on September 14, 2011 decided to have a common entrance test for IITs/NITs, state government-run and private engineering colleges throughout the country from 2013.”
Read one of the newspapers I was browsing through.
Kapil Sibal had a brainwave.He was worried about the stress level on students, financial difficulty faced in buying examination forms.Apparently, abolishing IIT-JEE was the solution, which translates to merging of AIEEE and IIT-JEE.For the ignorant lot, cracking IIT-JEE is a pretty big deal.In Andhra Pradesh, it is a matter of life and death.You can see parents pushing children to pursue the JEE dream right from class 6.You’ll be surprised to see the efficiency of the routine a bunch 6th graders follow.It involves getting up at 5 a.m. and sleeping at 11 p.m. with a one hour break for lunch and dinner.This continues for 7 long years and culminates on one of those fine April mornings with a 6 hour long exam.This effectively destroys the formative years of a person, and if you screw up JEE you are left with excruciating memories of effort gone in vain.The incognizant parents put up their lads in such coaching schools just because a colleague’s friend or a neighbour’s daughter is pursuing the JEE dream.This is one of the main reasons as to why the selection rates from A.P. in IITs is very high.
But in retrospective, cracking JEE is the best challenge high school education in India has to offer.JEE gives you an ontological argument of purpose, a lot of people I know(including me) were attempting JEE just for the sheer kick one gets on accomplishing something no one expects you to be successful at.Others are genuinely interested in technical studies and rest are forced by their parents.The rush one gets after solving a question from Irodov is worth the effort.
ISEET(Indian Science Engineering Eligibility Test) will fail to be a definitive substitute for IIT JEE.The reasons being
1)It has a 40% weightage on 12th board marks.Which is total bullshit, frankly speaking.The syllabus and marking schemes vary throughout India.In A.P. one can easily score above 90% with minimal effort.The same cannot be said about I.S.C. or C.B.S.E. Statisticians are talking about applying normalization to minimize the diversity.Who are they kidding?
2)You screw up ISEET, you are dead as a dodo.Earlier you had a chance to make up for the JEE disappointment through AIEEE.What if a student falls ill?What if he has a panic attack or a nervous breakdown during the examination? His chances of getting into an IIT or NIT are gone just like that.He’ll have to waste an year to attempt the exam again.
3)How does one gauge the difficulty of the question paper to be set?Should it be easier than JEE because you’re merging with AIEEE?But then, should it be tough enough to prevent a decline in the quality of students getting into IIT?
JEE was one of the best things that has happened to me.I’ve gotten into a good college(IIST, used to take students through to IIT-JEE, has now shifted its modus operandi to ISAT), met some quality people.But then, engineering hits you right on the head.I cracked JEE because it gave you a sense of accomplishment.Get into an ‘Arts’ or ‘Economics’ college after high school.The contemporary Indian society will look down upon you.At the same time, getting into one of those colleges is an easier way out.Hardly challenging.But if you are unprepared for the battle, engineering will molest you with all those integrals and bullshit you didn’t sign up for.
Lot of people are living a deluded life, mugging away notes, sucking up to professors, getting a job, getting married and living happily ever after(?).Others end up as confused dimwits, getting a 6 point something and desperately hoping to find a way out.Is this what you signed up for as a 17 year old?Are you passionate about the syllabus you are studying?And finally, does studying this shit make you happy?
Which brings me to the purpose of this blogpost.We need reforms in our education.We need to encourage 15 year olds to take up journalism or photography as career options.I know bucketloads of IITians own a photography page.Why take up engineering then?Because your parents would be embarrassed if their colleague confronts them with a question “Aapka beta kya kar raha hai?”
What would they say? “Photo keech raha hai” and the colleague would be like “Usme kya paisa hai, Sharma ji”
Abolishing IIT-JEE is not a way to do that. Why deny people that challenge?Why not bring reputation to our non-engineering colleges.Do we have an answer to Oxford and Stanford?Why not work towards that? Why chase political agendas through educational reforms?
17 is a very tender age to deal with disappointments.What about all those suicide stories in IITs?Someone rightly said “One cannot judge an elephant on its ability to climb a tree.”