Common engineering entrance exam from 2013

The government will scrap all engineering entrance exams from 2013-14. It has also come up with a novel idea of hiking tuition fees: students will not feel the pinch during the course of study, but they will have to pay up once they get a job.

Currently, various state boards and institutions, including the IITs, conduct at least 150 entrance exams every year. The government decided to dump all such exams, including the IIT-JEE and the AIEEE, at a meeting of IIT Council (IIT directors) and officials from the ministry of human resource development (HRD). Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal chaired the meeting.

“There will be one merit list. Institutes, including the IITs, will have to pick up students from this list,” Sibal said. “The list will be based on Std 12 marks and the entrance test results. Also, students will be counselled before they choose a course.” This test will be similar to the common entrance exam for medical courses beginning next year.

While rejecting the report of the Anil Kakodkar Committee that had suggested a five-fold fee hike for IITs (BTech and MTech programmes), the government, in principle, approved a fee hike. Sibal said students would continue paying Rs50,000 as annual fee, but they would have to “pay back” the difference money — the fee paid by a student and the money spent on him by an IIT — once they get a job.

Those from the SC/ST and OBC categories and students going for higher education or joining an IIT faculty would be exempted from this policy. The exemption would encourage students to take up research work and meet the faculty shortage, Sibal said.

“At present, the fees are nominal because of government subsidy,” he said. “The actual cost works out to nearly Rs6-8 lakh per student. Students can surely pay back this amount in easy instalments, considering the plush jobs they land with once they get their degrees.”

But the government wants a foolproof system in place to ensure students pay back the difference money. The degrees, which will soon be in a DMAT format, will reflect the difference money as loan and employers will be asked to deduct it from a student’s salary and deposit it with the government.

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