Washington: Maintaining that the move to have "One nation One test" is in the best interest of the students and parents, Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal has offered to address the objections being raised by certain IITs in this regard.
Currently in Washington to attend the India-US Education Dialogue, Sibal said he has no intention of infringing upon their autonomy and he has always worked for the autonomy of IITs and other educational institutions.
"Quite frankly this is not the Minister's decisions. This is the unanimous decision of the IIT Council, consisted of all the IIT Directors and Chairmen. Then we have the triple IIT Council representatives there, we have NIIT Council representatives there. All of them decided unanimously for a particular course of action," he said.
"In terms of the IIT Act there is an IIT Council. In terms of that Act the Council is entitled to take certain decisions by virtue of a statue. The Council has endorsed those decisions. I do not know what the exact objections to it are? I will go back and find out the exact nature of these objections and will surely address it," he said.
"But one thing I want to make clear that there is no intent to impact on the IIT systems autonomy. That is quite clear. The academic autonomy of the IIT system has to be maintained and must be maintained. The exam that is being contemplated is going to be set by the IIT, not by the government, not by anybody else," he added.
IIT-Kanpur has rejected the 'one-nation one-test' proposal and decided to conduct its own entrance exam.
IIT Delhi Alumni Association and All India IIT Faculty Federation - the two influential organisations opposing the move - have sought an audience with Prime Minister to apprise him of the situation that has arisen out of HRD announcement of new JEE.
"It is the JAB , the Joint Admissions Board which will actually set the examination. So one thing should be made clear we have no desire to in any way either directly or indirectly (to infringe on the autonomy). In fact I am a great supporter of autonomy, I have taken many steps to protect the autonomy of not just the IIT system but all educational institutions," Sibal argued.
"The other thing that needs to be addressed is the children in India. Take the United States of America. There is one SAT exam in the US. Harvard does not have a separate admission test, Stanford does not have a separate admission test, no other university has a separate admission test.
"You have an SAT exam and then you have the school exams and then the university decides by looking at those two, which student to admit and which not to admit. Take the UK, you have the A levels. There is no separate exam for Oxford. There is no separate exam for Cambridge. There is no separate exam in any university. You have the A levels and A levels are then taken into account for the admission process," he said.
"In India children have to sit for 30 different exams. Each child has to look for a university or a college and then he has to sit for 30-35 exams, which means he has to submit about 30-35 applications, he has to file security deposits for all those applications and the mental stress and torture of having go to 30-35 exams, I think is something is not fair to the parents as well as to their children," Sibal said.
"Then the other thing is that the school system must be accorded its integrity. The class XII board is a very important milestone in the life of a child and how he does in the Class XII Board is exceptionally important. I think that any process of admission should take that into account. So these are objective," he said.
"But if someone says that the autonomy of the IIT is being jeopardized, I would respectfully beg to differ. But if I am enlightened more on how it is jeopardized I am open to be furthered empowered. And if someone says that the school system is irrelevant, I again would beg to differ, we can certainly have a discourse on that," Sibal said.
"But let me tell you again, this has nothing to do with government. It is something that the IIT Council under the Statute decided which is a council consisting of the Directors of all the IIT system," he added.
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