Indian Human Resources minister to reform technology sector

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Kapil Sibal, India's Minister of Human Resource Development (HRD) held a meeting Monday to present his reform plans for the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) sector by increasing the entrance percentage to 80% and above in the class XII (final year) board exams. A three-member committee was set up to review the proposal.

Sibal said, "The present criteria is that students need to secure 60% in class XII for appearing in IIT-JEE. This is not acceptable", pointing out that the current criteria where students getting more than 60% in the board exam of the twelfth class are eligible for IIT-JEE is not good enough and that it has to be raised to 80-85%.

He also stated that students undervalue final year board exams, preparing instead for the Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE); they enrol in coaching institutes and concentrate on their study material in order to enter IIT. He wants to abolish these "teaching shops."

The meeting decided that they would set up two committees, one headed by Anil Kakodkar, Atomic Energy Commission (Chairman) and other by T. Ramasamy, Department of Science and Technology (Secretary). The first committee is scheduled to decide final year board percentage and the second one is scheduled to set the curriculum.

The Kakodkar committee also plans to decide how to abolish coaching institutes and how to move IIT field forward with a greater emphasis on research. The committee is expected to submit its report in the next six months. The minister also clarified that some of these will be implemented from the 2010 academic year and some from 2011.

The meeting was also expected to reduce the fee for African and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries as their fees are higher than those of Indians. The review committee says that people of other countries are tempted to study in India but they refrain due to high fees. The Ramasamy committee is expected to submit its report in the next three months.

Lastly, the meeting said that it will appoint board members and directors on the basis of nominations and independent rank and power to ensure IIT's activity.