New Delhi: The Joint Admission Board (JAB) has decided to conduct the entrance examination for admission to Indian Institutes if Technology (IITs) in the online mode only from 2018 onwards. The decision has been taken to make logistics and evaluation process easier. The JAB is the policy-making body on IIT admissions and took the decision at a meeting in Chennai yesterday. In the online mode, students would need to take the exam at the designated centres where instead of marking their answers in an Optical Mark Reading (OMR) sheet, they would need to answer the questions on a computer instead. Till recently, the exam was conducted in offline mode and students answered questions in the OMR sheet and answers were evaluated by machines.
Professor Bhaskar Ramamurthi, the Director of IIT-Madras, said in a statement, "It has been decided that the JEE (Advanced) will be conducted in online mode from 2018 onwards. Further information regarding the examination will be provided by the JAB in due course."
Students already have the option to give JEE Main examination in both online and offline mode. JEE Main is the entrance examination for admission to engineering courses offered across the country and a qualifying examination for JEE Advanced examination which is conducted for admission to IITs and NITs.
"In order to make logistics and evaluations easier it was decided today that the JEE-Advanced should be made online," a JAB member said.
The JAB member said that the concept was being prodded for a long time but was delayed as it was necessary to first have adequate infrastructure to conduct the exam online.
In 2017, 1186454 candidates had registered for JEE Main exam. Out of the total candidates registered for the exam 183673 candidates had registered for the online exam and 165635 appeared for the exam. A total of 221427 candidates have qualified for the JEE Advanced exam.
The decision seems to be an outcome of the flaws in the evaluation process this year. This year many students who appeared for the JEE Advanced exam were awarded grace marks after a few students approached the Supreme Court pointing out that there was an error in the Hindi version of the question paper in Mathematics and Chemistry sections. When the error in the question paper was detected the authorities granted grace marks to all students irrespective of if they attempted the answer or not.
As a result, some students filed a petition that the granting of grace marks was unfair to the students who had attempted and marked the answers correctly. The students requested that a fresh merit list for JEE Advanced be issued.
While hearing the petition, the Supreme Court of India had suspended the counselling process for JEE Advanced qualified candidates. By the time the counselling was suspended, two rounds of counselling had already been conducted and many students had already taken admission to their allotted institutes. The Supreme Court allowed the IITs to go ahead with the counselling after asking the IITs to give an undertaking that no such mistake would recur and situations to award grace marks would not arise.
(With Inputs from PTI)
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(This story was first published on August 21, 2017 and was updated several times thereafter)