Chinks are finally showing in the armour. Just when it was being thought that IIT Kharagpur (Indian Institute of Technology) was supporting Union human resources development ministry's move to start a common entrance test for the tech schools of the country, faculty representatives from the premier institute reached Delhi to join the team that will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday to explain him why the common test would "systematically kill the IITs as a brand."
The IITs would seek Singh's intervention in the matter and expect him to stop implementation of the common test.
As things stand now, the common test would be a two-tier one. While the first test will be a general one that all aspirants will have to take, an advanced test will also be taken keeping the IITs in mind. IIT Kharagpur, along with other institutes like IIT Kanpur, is opposing the formula of this common test. "It has been proposed that all aspirants take both the exams. However, only 50,000 from the merit list of the first exam will have their answer scripts for the advanced one checked. Why should you make all the candidates take the advanced exam on the same day knowing fully well that you will not check their papers? This is a mammoth waste of time, energy and money!" said Prasanta Guha, the faculty member who will represent the IIT Kharagpur at the meeting with PM.
The rhetoric at Kharagpur has been against the common test and, gradually, the momentum is picking up. Faculty members are writing to each other and creating a support base against the resolution that was "forcibly and slyly" drawn up after the Senate meeting of June 2. The resolution showed assent of the institute as a body towards Kapil Sibal's common test, which faculty members claim was against the common view of the institute. "We do not support a common test where all candidates will be made to take the so-called advanced exam. Also, this is the first time that the board results will be directly used to draw up the rank of the student. A lot of deliberation is required to find out the difference in standards of different board exams. It would take at least two years for this. We had clearly pointed this out at the Senate meeting and said that a new system can only be initiated from 2014. However, a false resolution was drawn up," said an angry faculty member. Faculty members said that they had repeatedly protested as a body at the director's office.
"He had promised to present our view at the IIT Council meeting that is headed by Sibal, but did not do so," protested teachers.
An e-mail with these complaints has been drawn up by members of the IIT Kharagpur Teachers Association and sent to director Damodar Acharya already. The mail lists all complaints of faculty members.
It also demands for calling an emergency Senate meet soon. "If the director does not do so, the faculty council has the power to do so on its own," threatened teachers.
Copies of all these e-mails will also be presented to the Prime Minister on Friday.