Online entrance test for IITs, others by 2014?
By Charu Sudan Kasturi
NEW DELHI: Students seeking admission to IITs and
all other central engineering schools may soon have to
switch from pens and pencils to a computer mouse under a
move to completely computerise key Centrally conducted
The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry and the
Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) are scouting
for a firm to audit their preparedness for the switch,
top government officials confirmed to HT.
The move is backed by HRD minister MM Pallam Raju.
If the audit concludes that the board and government are
ready, the 100% computerised avatar could be rolled out
as early as 2014.
But a computerised test for the about 15,00,000 students
who seek admission to the IITs, National Institutes of
Technology (NITs) and other central engineering schools
each year is unlikely to be easy.
The JEE (Main) — earlier called the All India
Engineering Entrance Examination — which picks students
to the NITs and other central schools and shortlists
150,000 top students for a second round test to select
students for the IITs — is currently conducted mostly in
the pencil-paper format. But in 2012, the CBSE started
offering a computerised version for a few students at
select centres, spread over a few days.
“Now we want to check whether we are ready to take the
big leap towards dumping the pencil-paper format
completely,” a senior CBSE official said.
The audit will check 300 identified centres across 28
Indian cities and Singapore, Kathmandu and Colombo,
where computerised tests are planned. At these centres,
auditors will check the infrastructure — CCTV
surveillance, power backup, 20% additional desktops,
standby servers, air-conditioning and access control
Auditors will evaluate software security and whether
rigorous security arrangements to prevent question paper
leaks are in place. The plan is to upload question
papers on a central server and then issue passwords for
access to the server to officials in charge of centres
through a text message in the morning of the
(Courtesy : The Hindustan Times)
GATE to go the JEE way, have 2-tier exam
: The National Co-ordination Board (NCB) of the Graduate
Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) has proposed a two-tier test for
admission to the M.Tech programme run by the Indian Institutes of
Technology and the IISc, Bangalore. The test will, like the new JEE,
have a screening test followed by the main admission test.
According to a newspaper report the new pattern is being adopted
to cope up with the massive increase in the number of aspirants in
the past five years — from 1.8 lakh in 2008 to more than 10 lakh
The National Co-ordination Board (NCB), which conducts the test each
year, comprises the directors of the seven older IITs and the
Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
The screening exam, planned to be entrusted to a private agency,
will be more like an aptitude test. The final test, to be conducted
by the IITs and IISc, will assess the domain (subject) knowledge of
the students, said The Telegraph report quoting an IIT
“The NCB has written to all IITs to get the views of the faculty on
the two-tier GATE proposal and outsource the screening test to a
private firm,” the director added.
Each of the seven IITs last week issued circulars to the heads of
departments asking them to give their views after speaking to the
The move assumes significance against the backdrop of recent changes
brought to the IIT-JEE examination. For admission to BTech courses
in the IITs from next year, aspirants will have to appear in the JEE-Main,
to be conducted by the CBSE. If they clear this, they will have to
take the JEE-Advanced, to be held by the IITs.
But a faculty member from IIT Kharagpur said he and his colleagues
would oppose the plan to enlist a private firm for GATE, said the
“Private companies have no stake in promoting merit in admission in
the IITs except monetary gains. We will oppose this proposal to take
away a part of the exam from the IITs.”
Not everyone seemed to back the view, though. Former IIT Kanpur
director S.G. Dhande justified the move, saying changes were
required to ensure better quality in the test.
“Is the existing GATE really assessing the eligibility of a student
for research? The present objective-type test is focussed on subject
knowledge. We need to test the orientation and aptitude of students
for research,” Dhande said.
The screening test may have questions on reasoning, basic science
and language to gauge the general competence of students, while the
final exam could test domain knowledge.
Dhande suggested the screening test be held online and several times
But IIT Faculty Federation president K. Narasimhan indicated the
last word was not out on the proposed change and that it would be
discussed at several forums before being given final shape.
“The federation has not taken any view on the proposal yet. Let us
see what the faculty members from each institute are saying,” the
IIT Bombay teacher said.
Dheeraj Sanghi, of IIT Kanpur, appeared to favour the new system
saying GATE was gradually becoming a burden on the IITs because of
the increase in the number of aspirants.
“I think it is a good move. A private firm (Prometric) has been
conducting the Common Admission Test (CAT) for IIMs the past few
years. The GATE examination similarly can be handled by a private
firm,” he said.