Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Reforms in JEE and GATE

In my previous posts on reforms in GATE and JEE, I discussed a few reforms that are likely to be implemented. I had mentioned that only the top 2.5 percentile in the XII board exam will be allowed to write JEE. In the IIT council meeting yesterday, apparently it was suggested it will be around 80 percentage in marks but considering that there are 40 boards who conduct the XII exam and there is a need to normalize the marks and, therefore, something like 5 or 10 percentile will be implemented.

Please note it is appears to be a suggestion by the minister but actually it was originally proposed by a JEE reform committee in 2006 itself. This is akin to stating that the minister proposed the 3 years experience requirement for appointment to assistant professor [It was not, this was proposed by the Goverdhan Mehta committee].

In GATE, I had mentioned that "There should be a common section on mathematics, analytical ability (similar to the old analytical section of GRE) and English comprehension that would involve reading a technical paragraph and answering questions on that. This section would be of 50 marks and would be common to all technical papers in GATE." Well, effective GATE 2010, 15 marks each will be for mathematics and general ability with the latter being common for all papers. Also, GATE will conduct online exam for two of its small papers.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20091020/main2.htm

"The strangest part of the meet, however, was complete silence on the issue of salary hike, which stirred the IIT Faculty Federation’s two-month strike. Sibal said the matter did not come up as IIT directors didn’t present any plan. A surprised federation chief M. Thenmozhi told The Tribune, “We will assess the outcome of the meeting and decide the future course of action. We had huge expectations from the Council.”

Sibal had earlier assured the faculty that the IIT Council would address their salary-related concerns. It was upon this assurance that the faculty suspended its agitation."

Anonymous said...

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/flexible-cadre-issue-to-be-raised-at-iit-council-meet/01/34/373645/

"For one, the AIIITF wants assistant professors with PhD and three years of total work experience to be placed in pay band 4 (PB4) grade which entitles to a salary of Rs 37,400 and academic grade pay (increment grade) of Rs 9,000. M Thenmozhi, President, AIIITFF, says: “According to the draft UGC regulations of September 23, a PhD with five years experience is placed at PB4 grade but at IITs, the same position is given to a faculty only after a minimum of six years of work experience after a PhD. We want some parity there too.”

The MHRD modifications of September 16 for IITs placed PhDs with six years work experience at PB4, in order to bring parity with the National Institute of Technology (NITs). “But again it should change to bring parity between IITs and NITs as well. Hence, our request, that PhD with three years of total work experience should be placed in PB4 grade is reasonable,” Thenmozhi says, adding: "Moreover, PB4 for assistant professors on appointment is the original claim of the Federation as well as the directors of IITs to the Goverdhan Mehta Committee and MHRD.”

The AIIITF is also demanding that the flexible cadre system should be maintained “in full spirit”. Under this, certain conditions imposed on IITs by the MHRD should be made absolutely flexible, including flexibility of 10 per cent faculty strength to be recruited as assistant professor on contract, only 40 per cent of the professors could be promoted at one time, total 10 years requirement to be considered for the post of a professor of which four years have to be as assistant professor.

“Although HRD minister Kapil Sibal has assured us that none of these restrictions would come in the way as they are purely norms and Board of Governors of IITs or the selection committee would always be able to make exceptions for exceptional cases of merit, we still feel that modifying the written order is as much necessary as the verbal assurances given in public by the minister,” says Thenmozhi.

The crux of the problem is the anomaly in the revised pay scales. For instance, around 200 faculty members were hired in last five years at IIT Madras, mainly in the category of assistant professors. Consider someone who had been drawing a salary of Rs 26,526 (14,100 basic + DA) as on 1.1.2006. If this person was teaching in a UGC college or in the non-teaching cadre (deputy librarian or deputy registrar) at IIT, the revised pay exclusive of allowances would be Rs 46,400 and will be in payband 4. However, if this person was teaching in IIT, the revised pay would be Rs 38,000 and would still be in payband 3.

That apart, assistant professors in the pre-revised pay scale of Rs 22,320 to Rs 29,350, will all draw the same revised pay of Rs 38,000 as per the revisions. This is because of ‘bunching’ of 10 stages of pre-revised pay into one revised pay, despite the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendation of bunching no more than two stages. (Bunching started with the 5th Central Pay Commission. Both the 5 th and 6 th pay commissions have tried to to bring down the number of pay scales of Central government employees. In doing so, the scales of a few posts have been merged into a single pay scale. In the 6th Central Pay Commission, they have done away with scales by introducing a new term called pay bands (PB). Thus bunching reduces a number of scales into a single scale.)

Associate and full professors also are subjected to similar bunching of five-six stages. So, a professor with 25 years of experience and a professor with five years of experience will have a pay difference of just four increments."

Anonymous said...

Looking at two news item above, it seems the shrewd minister and his puppet chairmen and directors altogether made fool of AIIITF in the council meeting.

Yayaver said...

Can author or anyone here tell me that this 80% is required in PCM or overall percantage ?

ansumali said...

Now that Mr. Sibbal has backed out, we are discussing an hypothetical scenario only.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Students-dont-need-80-for-taking-IIT-exam-Sibal/articleshow/5142176.cms
However, Prof Giridhar I do not see how 85% cut-off is a reform. We talk about affirmative action and less load in schooling, on the other hand our actions are opposite to that. Putting 85% cut-off will remove poor and rural students rather than coaching centers. Rich kids will take coaching for 2th+IIT together.

Regarding, Gate I do agree with what you suggest. That will be a sensible reform.

Giri@iisc said...

I do think that revamping the IIT entrance is certainly called for. Everyone who gets through JEE is coached. This high level of coaching has ensured that all parents put their children in coaching classes and these children neglect XII classes completely. Numerous colleges grant fake admission to XII standard while the student often attends coaching for the JEE in some other town. If the child does not get through JEE and has only 60% in XII standard,he is stuck. Instead, if the person had just studied for XII, he/she would be in a good engineering college. The idea of poor getting into IIT is great and should be definitely encouraged. Tell me, in the current system, how can these poor pay for coaching that costs more than Rs. 2 lakhs? The students taking JEE have to fill up a form for admission and there is a section on whether they have attended coaching. The answer invariably is yes. Please try to show that many poor students have scored only 50 percentile in XII board but have qualified in JEE. You can not do that because there are none.

Of course, as a faculty in IISc, I am more interested in reforming GATE :-)

ansumali said...

Prof. Giridhar,
Super 30 in Patna is one of known coaching institute which is solely for poor and which keep track of economic and academic data. According to them, in last 8-9 years out of 240 students who succeeded in JEE from super 30, only 24 students have marks above 80%. Anyone who lived in Patna knows about economic and social background of these kids who are often son and daughters of rickshawala, daily laborer etc. This is not surprising because only 300 students got more than 80% in Bihar board last year.
Also, not all coaching institute cost 2 Lakh. Successful students in IIT JEE were always coached (at least from the time I can remember). Of course there is a substantial difference now. Earlier, IIT JEE coaching existed only in big cities (brilliant tutorials, FIT JEE etc). Now there is a democratization of such institutes in a manner that they exist in almost every small cities now.

In any event, I would be surprised if you really believe that putting 80% marks will remove coaching classes. All that will do is give undue advantage to students of good schools such as DPS. They can have coaching for
both +2 as well as JEE.

iitmsriram said...

First, the anon@3:28 post is about pay scales which does not belong in this thread; but let me point out anyway that much of the information in that article is outdated; I know, because I prepared most of the material in the last three paragraphs with all the numbers. Revised notifications issued since then have changed most of this stuff. And now, about the 80% stuff - perhaps, that too is outdated now. Of course, the idea is to use a percentile, not an absolute percentage. Boards like Bihar are tough whereas there are othere like Tamil Nadu which are very soft. The driving factor is to go away from the multiple choice bubble sheet mode of exams. I think many within IITs would like to go back to the hand written paper tests where the evaluator can see what the student has done and use subjective judgement. The present crop of JEE qualifiers has an unacceptably large fraction of those who have rather poor understanding but have mastered the art and science of multiple choice exams courtesy coaching institutions. The real tragedy is that these students then begin to go through life thinking and believing that ends justify means, almost any means, including committing crimes. And, giridhar, JEE coaching has gone beyond fake admissions and found a way to become legal. Now, coaching schools (prime examples in Hyderabad) have taken over (or merged with or whatever) regular schools. They offer admission to non-JEE students and have JEE sections separately. Of course, the coaching schools run the JEE sections where the students have a separate time-table which is basically JEE coaching. So, they are actually attending a regular school, but having JEE coaching in their regularly scheduled classes. I dont think JEE coaching will go away, but if they cover general XII std material also, then we can live with that.

Giri@iisc said...

Ansumali,

IITmsriram has answered most of the questions that you had asked. As I said, it is percentile.

How many candidates are below the top 20 percentile in XII board exam, are poor but qualified in IIT-JEE? Believe me, JEE has statistics for all this and this is almost non-existent.

Thanks

Giridhar

Anonymous said...

Giri,

The issue is that you have shown NO DATA to prove what YOU are saying. You say IIT has data. Where is that data? Has the IIT shared that data with you? Sure, let us see it. There are lot of poor people who are IITians. I am myself an example. We are a family who have known what is hunger - you may not know what that concept is. I attended IITK. Yes, I was coached. By myself. But I had to buy secondhand material of the then existing "Agrawal Classes" - I did not pay 2 lacs. There are no datapoints that say what you claim. If there are, show us. Show us also how many students get >85% in 12th standard in UP board exams. More than 200,000 students appear. Less than 100 score anything >85% in class 12 board. So, what is your point? Till you have the datra and know what you are talking about, I can maintain that you are merely asserting something bogus.

Giri@iisc said...

Dear Anon@444

I am sorry that you have resorted to name calling.

You say,

"We are a family who have known what is hunger - you may not know what that concept is."

So, you know me and about my family, uh? I grew up in a village.

Where did I say about 85% marks and UP board exams. I only said that the number of candidates who score below the top 20 percentile in XII board exam, are poor but qualify in JEE is negligible. I never mentioned marks but only percentile.

If you were poor AND scored below the 20th percentile in XII board exams AND qualified in JEE, you are an outlier.

Yes, I do have access to data but I am not obligated to share it with everyone, especially with someone who calls me names and accuses me of being bogus.

Thank you very much

Giridhar

Anonymous said...

Anon at 4.44 pm

If only 100 candidates out of 200000 score above 85% in UP board exam, that is less than 0.1%. What Prof. Madras is talking about is 20 percentile. This will be more than 55-60 marks in the UP board exam.

One would expect IIT-K graduate would understand what he is saying but now we know what the standards of IITs are with all the IIT professors accusing each other in other blogs.

Varun Aggarwala said...
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Varun Aggarwala said...
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Giri@iisc said...

Dear Varun,

I am not against coaching institutes. I feel sorry that many attend only these coaching classes and do not attend school. If they fail to get into IIT, they seem to lose everything because they score less in the XII standard. Thus, they neither get into an engineering college nor into IIT. There were people who were making four attempts and trying to get in IIT. This was the reason why IIT introduced 60 percent and two attempts only. The committee at that time recommended 80% as the cutoff. But asking for 80 percent is grossly unfair. Getting 80% in some boards is way tougher than getting 80% in some other boards. It may be top 1 percentile in the UP board while it may not even be top 10 percentile in the TN board. Thus, percentile have to be introduced.

Let me ask you a personal question: How many of your class mates in IIT did not qualify in the top 20 percentile of the XII class exam?

Restricting the number who take the exam will also allow us to grade the exam and not just have objective type questions. Please see iitmsriram response.

Thanks

Giridhar

Varun Aggarwala said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Giri@iisc said...

Dear Varun,

I asked you,

"How many of your class mates in IIT did not qualify in the top 20 percentile of the XII class exam?"

classmates in IIT, not classmates in your school.

Many people do think, IIT or nothing. After you enter IIT, you do not think that :-)

Varun Aggarwala said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Varun,

Prof. Giridhar is mentioning 20 percentile. Many boards will have only 60 marks for the top 20 percentile. IIT allows only minimum of 60 percent in board exam. This means they are already implementing this policy. When you studied, maybe there were 5% of students in the category Now they be even less.

Varun Aggarwala said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Varun Aggarwala said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Giri@iisc said...

Dear Varun,

Thanks for your comment. I never said anything about 80 or 85 percentage of marks. I have been always telling about the percentile. I am aware of the huge variation of marks across different boards. I have the top 1 percentile and top 20 percentile for all boards. I have already posted the top 1 percentile for each board in a separate post.

Thanks

Giridhar

JSK said...

Percentiles are a fair way to judge only if one assumes that the average in say X board is 60 % as against 70 % in Y board can only be attributed to degree of difficulty of the exam. This is not necessarily true. It is quite likely that students in X board have on an average less knowledge than board Y. To give you an example let’s take the Maharashtra HSC board exam 2009. The same exam is conducted all through the state so one would expect that approximately the same percentage of students would obtain a distinction (75 %) in various regions of Maharashtra. But the statistics are as follows Pune: Top 5.2 % achieve distinction, Nagpur its 3.9 %, Aurangabad 6.2 %, Mumbai 8.2 %, Nasik 4.2 %, Latur 10.4 %. This data clearly shows that difference in the average marks scored in various boards can’t be solely attributed to degree of difficulty but has a lot to do with other factors such as socio-economic factors (which show up as regional variations). Thus to have a fair system percentile across boards seems a bad option.
The issue really is about the JEE being objective based rather than a traditional problem solving descriptive exam. The numbers currently make it not possible to conduct a descriptive exam. Why not get around this by having a screening objective exam like there used to be.

Anonymous said...

JSK makes an excellent point. However, isn't having percentile better than having 60% marks for all boards, as currently practiced?

Also, let us say we have 10 percentile cut off and it is 70% in Maharashtra XII board exam. How many currently pass JEE who score less than 70% in Maharashtra board?

Yes, there will be variations based on socio-economic factors but it exists in the current scenario also.

The purpose of having percentile cutoff is not just to reduce numbers but to make sure XII board is not neglected by a huge number of students.

Currently, IIT is thinking of a 20 percentile cutoff, have a screening exam by November itself. Those who do not qualify in November will know this and prepare for XII board exam. Allow only around 25,000 to write the final exam in April.

JSK said...

@ananonymous 5:17 PM Since when have IIT's taken upon themselves the right to decide who should concentrate on what exam. Besides arent admissions in states like Maharashtra already on bases of a separate multiple choice based CET. Going for a screening test though does make sense. Min percentiles, percentage etc doesnt make any sense.

Anonymous said...

Varun says,

""Many boards will have only 60 marks for the top 20 percentile."
-- I am sorry but I think that this is too low. I was thinking somewhat around 80% for CBSE, ISC boards."

Are you sure? In the top 1 percentile post, it is shown that 86% in CBSE X class and 90% in CBSE XII is the top 1 percentile.

The top 20 percentile will be only 60-70% marks in CBSE, I think. In UP board, 20 percentile will be around 50% marks??

amishra said...

I don't really understand how reducing the number of attempts or excluding a certain section of the student base [and I only mean those having lesser marks in their boards] is going to help if the government plans to revamp the IITs to be scientifically more productive.

By having the cutoff marks what we are doing is ensuring that a student who didn't do well in his boards [be it because he wasn't careful enough or that his board fixed him up] NEVER gets a chance to redeem himself. If you say that just one day of JEE shouldn't decide a student's fate then this argument supporting elimination of students based on board marks is on the same line and hence contradicts the original proposition. I don't know what the solution should be for minimizing the effect of 'a good day' or 'a bad day' on a students career but this proposal certainly doesn't provide a solution for it.

The Finance minister, in his budgetary speech had said a very important point - entrance exams at this level should measure the ability to grasp knowledge and not knowledge itself. What we do by measuring the performance of a student against such cumulative parameters is to go against this fundamental principle.

I do support the idea of conducting interviews for admission to these institutes but, and it's a big but, if and only if these interviews judge a student purely on his inclination towards science subjects. They should be fundamentally different than the ones that the IIMs conduct where the aspirant is mature enough to know why he is there, and the interviewer has a reason to inquire, by looking at his past record and abilities, whether he is a suitable candidate or not because he is NOT starting his career at this point; he is shaping it up, taking it forward.

This makes conducting interviews at the undergraduate level a very delicate process. The interviewing panel needs to make sure that a village boy with a good aptitude for science doesn't loose out to a convent educated smart boy just because his soft skills are not very refined.

We can do away with English, or Economics and such courses as judging parameters unless the student is willing to pursue a career in them.

When we are talking about the JEE ,we must keep in mind that the student is starting his career at this point and more than being judged he needs to be guided.

If the government is really worried about the disturbing trend of students wasting 3-4 years in pursuit of an IIT seat then it should make sure that there are enough quality institutions to cater to the growing population, the way it is in states like Tamilnadu and AP.