New Delhi: After facing opposition from certain sections of the IIT, HRD minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday got some much needed support from almost all the state government, who reached a consensus on the common entrance test for engineering colleges.
"We have to compete internationally, all states have endorsed it. They have given full support," Sibal said.
However, even as they backed the idea of a joint entrance examination, almost all the states opposed the Centre's proposal to allow flexibility to prestigious IITs according to which they can adopt a methodology for selection and admission of students, in a manner different from that in NITs and IIITs.
In a meeting chaired by HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, the states favoured common entrance, but opposed different yardsticks for the IITs.
Led by Bihar, Education Ministers of the states almost unanimously said they could not agree with a provision in the Centre's proposal that the selection criteria for candidates for the IITs would be different even as all the aspirants or IITS, IIITs and NIT will have to appear in a common test under a new format.
Considering the opposition from the Education Ministers assembled in New Delhi to discuss the proposed Common Entrance Examination, Sibal agreed to incorporate in the minutes of the meeting that "the states were of the opinion that IITs should also adopt the same format" as that for for IIITs and NITs.
He, however, was non-committal on accepting the states' demand as IITs are governed by a separate Act.
While Congress-ruled Kerala and Samajwadi Party-ruled Uttar Pradesh opposed the Government's move on the common entrance test, some states including BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat said that they would implement the Centre's proposal.
Congress-ruled states of Haryana, Assam and Maharashtra also supported the Centre, sources said.
Considering the strong opposition from Kerala and Uttar Pradesh, Sibal said flexibility is given to the states which are under no compulsion to join the common entrance test for institutes under their jurisdiction.
It was explained that States would have the freedom to join in the common examination system and have the autonomy to determine their own relative weightages to normalised Class XII Board marks, performance in JEE-MAIN and JEE-ADVANCED.
It was also clarified at the meeting that where a state intends to join the common test for admission to engineering institutions in the state, the exam papers would be also available in the regional language of the state in addition to English and Hindi.
However, the alumni and certain sections of the IIT faculty are dead against the move which they feel has been forced upon them.
The IIT alumni and faculty association are still very clear. They say the common entrance test will not only reduce autonomy of the IITs but will also compromise on the quality of students coming in. Hence the trouble for the HRD ministry may not be over just yet. If the alumni take the legal route the ministry will have to defend its move before the court.
With Additional Inputs From PTI