A revolt by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) against the new exam formula fixed by Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal, to decide who gets into India's most prestigious engineering colleges, was discussed threadbare today at a meeting of the IIT Council.
But Mr Sibal decided to skip the crucial meeting. Many present at the meeting say his absence is not surprising.
The meeting was chaired by Dr MM Sharma, the chairman of IIT Madras' governing board. The IIT council is headed by the HRD minister and comprises the Chairmen and directors of all IITs, Chairman of the University Grants Comission (UGC), three MPs, appointees of the central government and those of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
Earlier in the day, sources told NDTV that a compromise formula has already been reached. In the new formula, the class12 board exam marks will not be considered for entering into the esteemed institutes.
The class 12 state board marks, has been the bone of contention between the IIT senate and Mr Sibal. The proposal floated by Mr Sibal last month, had suggested that class 12 marks will be given weightage for entry into the IITs. This was opposed, saying different states had different systems of marking students so it would be incorrect to consider those marks for entry into to IIT.
Instead of board marks, top 20 per cent scorers in board examinations will be eligible to take the main (multiple-choice) IIT entrance exam. And then 50,000 students who score the best there will move on to the advanced exam, which will be conducted by the IITs. This is being seen as a big victory for the IIT Senates, who have been keen on conducting the advance test themselves, but have been against the idea of relying on board marks.
The Senates are the highest decision making bodies on all academic matters of the IITs. A senate consists largely of professors who are made responsible by the IIT Act of 1961, "for the maintenance of standards of instruction, education and examination."
But Mr Sibal too seems to have got his way too. This new format could be implemented from 2013; a change he has been insistent about, but was being resisted by the IITs. They had opined that any sweeping changes in the admission process should be brought in from after 2014.