It is no well-kept secret that the JEE this year was rather eventful, with much fodder for gossip provided to the media, print or otherwise. An entire nation was entertained by the latest shenanigans of the education ministry and the IITs, what with all the JEE bungling. Alarmed students crossed their fingers, a disgruntled Nitish Kumar hankered for re-examination, Kapil Sibal gasped for air despite all his glibness, and JEE chairmen scurried for cover. To add to the list of goof-ups, 52 students were wrongly invited for admissions, only to be shown the door later. Et cetera.
That JEE 2010 might have unwittingly resulted in random selections is not an unjustifiable concern. The situation could not have been salvaged by any degree of corrective measures, the assurances of the JEE chairman, and Mr. Sibal, notwithstanding. All this at a time when everybody is complaining of the deteriorating IIT standards.
“I can’t tell at the moment what the nature of remedial action will be, but I can assure the solution is available; it is inbuilt into the system. There will be substantial justice for the students.”
As if this was not enough, an unapologetic denudation of the same system revealed clandestine quotas and other skeletons in the IIT closet. And another nail was driven into the coffin.
A flawed system set for overhaul cannot be a surprise then. It is ironic, however, that Sibal et al. are high on an aptitude test that America wants to scrap (read the SAT). Of all the hare-brained schemes, it is hard to imagine how such a standardized test can predict performance equally for wildly different curricula and socio-economic backgrounds, especially in our country.
An issue that no one seems to care a hoot about is the imminent merger of engineering and medical tests, the AIEEE and the AIPMT. Such a combined examination will be cruelly indifferent to the plight of all those who prepare for both the disciplines in a bid to keep their options alive.
While the system decidedly needs a revamp, discarding it altogether would be a shame, and is not a solution. A much beleaguered Sibal might have discovered this by now, badgered as he has been by alumni across the globe.
“To abolish the JEE would be tantamount to finding a key ingredient of a winning formula and removing it. There is no scientific basis whatsoever for doing this, no scientific evidence whatsoever that the Global IIT brand would be improved, and no scientific evidence whatsoever that any generally accepted objective would be achieved.”
If the existing JEE system allows abuse, then what is essential is to plug the loopholes, and not simply throw our baby out with the bath water.