Scoring high into the IITs

Yesterday, Kapil Sibal proposed that the minimum marks to enter the IITs would be raised possibly to 80-85% in the Class 12 exams. Since then he has back-tracked, but I still wanted to talk about this.

On the face of it, it seemed alright, but the more I thought of, the more I was convinced that this was just not a sensible move. One of the reasons that Sibal states is that coaching centres have been mushrooming around and this move will curb it.

Now, if we do take into consideration, the much maligned coaching centres. The reason, we have so many coaching centres is

1. Our Class 12 syllabus is not geared up to allow a student to successfully meet the IIT standards

2. Our school teachers are not competent enough to teach the children

Surely, if we do need to curb the culture of coaching classes, what we need to do is, ensure that our Class 12 syllabus is geared up for the competitive exams rather than increase the focus on marks in the Class 12 exams. And we need teachers in schools who are able to guide the children through these exams. We have children going to tuitions and coaching classes from Class 1Β  onwards – surely, there is something wrong in the system? And not in the way the IIT entrance criteria are structured? The fact that so many of our students need coaching outside of school is just an indicator that somewhere our schools are not performing the role they are meant to be.

Secondly, to increase the eligibility percentage to 80-85% also assumes that every board has the same standards and marking policies. Most of us would be aware of how different every state board is. I know, some states, where scoring an 80% is no big deal while some states where it is very difficult and only the very top students manage an 80%. So students studying in some state boards are automatically at a disadvantage.Β  There is a distinct difference even in ICSE and CBSE boards scoring standards. Without a common board, such a proposal is just recipe for disaster.

Initially, when Kapil Sibal spoke of reforms, the impression that came about was that the system would change from rote learning to practical, from the basic learning. IIT entrance exams, if anything, are a very good test of how good our basics are. I think to shift the weightage from the entrance exams to the Class 12 scores is a sure-shot way of shooting in the foot, the reforms that Sibal spoke of.

Since then, Kapil Sibal has back-tracked. He is doing a lot of things in the right direction, to reform our education system. I think IITs is one place where things are functioning the way it should and he should just let it stay the way it is.

I just had to get that out of my system!

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69 thoughts on “Scoring high into the IITs

  1. Frankly I don’t like the concept of 80 marks… and its good that he backtracked…. because as you have said we have too many boards and students were evaluated under different scales…

    and another thing… a person with 79% is no less brainy than a person who got 80%… so its better they leave the things as it is.. and if they want to curb the mushrooming of coaching centres, let they improve the standards of the schools.. I hope thats easier than the other way around which kills the oppurtunity for many students…

  2. Smits,I agree with you to alarge extent here.Theres no point in increasing the percentage level of 12th class exams.What is important is to increase the standard of teaching in the senior secendory level.
    And maybe offer some perks and benefits to the teachers teaching in the schools in so as to increase their motivation and efficiency levels.’cos ,Smitha,what happens is many teachers runtheir own coaching centers and get monetary and creative satisfaction both.


    I agree, Deeps. ‘What is important is to increase the standard of teaching in the senior secendory level.’ – Absolutely! This is what is needed.
    ‘what happens is many teachers runtheir own coaching centers and get monetary and creative satisfaction both.’ – Yes, so true and so sad. Because if our teachers were treated better, they would be motivated to give their all in schools rather than at private coaching classes..And the thing is, coaching classes are there for every possible subject – not just for IITs – it just indicates a deeper rot, which will not go away by increasing the cut-offs.

    I feel,to a large extent,parents need to be held responsible for the coaching centers to gain foothold,especially the double-income earning lot.They invest hardly any time on their children as time is what they run short of and the next best thing they can ensure is send their kin to a coaching center.Precisely why we see children as small as 6-7 year olds being sent there.

    Yes, and I find it shocking! 6-7 yr olds – why do they need coaching.. Parents are also to blame.

    And sometimes teachers are also corrupt enough to ensure that their students come for extra tutions.

    • I met this kid in my church on last sunday, who is attending coaching class for IIT JEE(he is just 8th standard) .Actually instead if IIT he want to go for aeronautical engineering.When i asked his parents about ,why they are sending him so early for coaching,they replied me like “now a days everyone is going for coaching since 7th-8th standard.So that we are also sending him.I felt sorry for that poor boy.Yeahh its true that we are living in a very competitive world(‘breeding horses’ race) But still….


      We do live in a very competitive world, but I think we are taking competition a bit too seriously. Surely a child is too young in the 8th std to know what he wants. What if he realises after 2 years that engg is not what he really wants? He might feel pushed to do engg because his parents have already invested so much 😦 I wish there was some way out of this crazy rat race..

  3. Smithapu,

    I think the proposition you have is totally logical. percentages of marks like 79% to 80% should not make the difference in eligibility of admission in IIT.

    Glad you agree, Mahmud

  4. if a person can get a rank in JEE, he definitely can get 85%.

    “I think IITs is one place where things are functioning the way it should and he should just let it stay the way it is.”

    it would be nice to know of an opinion of somebody who has cracked JEE, studied in one of the IIT’s and what is their opinion because they have lived in the system for 4-5 years

    My husband is an IIT Alumini and he agrees..

  5. I actually support Kapil Sibal. I had tweeted about the same yesterday as soon as I read the news. The syllabus of Class 11th and 12th is very informative. Kids these days don’t worry about 12th and parents too encourage them to spend all their valuable time and energy on coaching classes. This coaching class culture is ruining our education system. Sibal’s this new rule will ensure that students become more serious about the subjects in 12th and don’t run after coaching sessions.

    I don’t think parents encourage children to focus only on the coaching classes. More so, because, just in case somebody does not get into the IITs, low marks could kill his/her future. Coaching classes become necessary because they help focus on the entrances. If the plus 2 is geared in such a way that children can get through the entrance without extra coaching- it would be great. But in the current condition, I think increasing the percentage would only create more issues. Also as I mentioned, every state syllabus is different, their marking styles are different, so this type of percentage requirement will only put some students at a disadvantage. If at all such a flat condition needs to be there – then first we need to have a common board. The way the current system works – board differences do not matter. Students are judged on the way they perform in the entrance – which gives everybody a level playing field. By introducing an 85% cut-off, it would be unfair to students from some boards.

    And again coaching classes are not just for IITs – we have coaching classes for every possible subject – there is something seriously wrong. That is obviously a subject for another post, I guess πŸ™‚

    Most students who go to these coaching sessions get 1st class anyways but their ONLY aim is to get through entrance. The low scores in 12th gives an entire average of students faring poorly in schools which is not good for our education system.

    ‘The low scores in 12th gives an entire average of students faring poorly in schools which is not good for our education system.’ – As far as I know, scores are only increasing – there might be a handful of students who might focus only on the entrances – but for most students – plus 2 is an important step.

    I support 85% cut off to ensure that students really work hard on their 12th syllabus and only then get through IIT. I also support him revoking Arjun Singh’s policy of not allowing IIM off-campus abroad. So by 2011 we can see IIM campus abroad too.


    I support all his other initiatives too- I think he made some very promising decisions. And I totally support his decision of revoking Arjun Singh’s policy of not allowing IIM off-campus abroad. – I think it is a fantastic decision. The 85% cut-off, does not make sense, at least, in today’s scenario. It could be re-looked after he has implemented reforms and changed the way our education system works..

      • I have strong reasons for stating what I did. I have seen parents supporting children spending more time and energy at coaching centers.


        It takes all kinds – I am not saying that there are no parents like that – but coaching centres are not flourishing just because of that. And it will not stop flourishing if we increase the percentages. They will just find another way of making coaching centres more attractive to parents and students. If coaching centres have to stop mushrooming , we need basic and grass roots level changes to the system.

        I don’t know if cut-offs are going to be flat but I know colleges where they calculate percentages according to boards. I support 85%. For an argument we can always say that oh! a 70% can be as intelligent as 80 or 90% and it is true too. But then same argument is true when we say that how can we measure someone’s intelligence in just couple of hours exam? Someone who is extremely good can fail an entrance and yet do much better later in another exam. (A cousin who failed Kerala medical entrance is now IAS). My argument is if marks or percentage isn’t important then tests aren’t either. So when it comes to IIT and even RECs too (as I see the same quality in the students here and people who go up in their career) I support high percentage.


        I am not saying that tests are all in all. All I am saying is, in the current scenario, marks can lead to huge discrepancies. Already we have a few colleges(engg) in the country which have taken students primarily on the basis of marks and what has happened is that some state boards get it easier because of the way they score. Even though colleges/universities do have their ways of standardizing, it still gets tricky. Failing to get into an engg college or a medical college is no sign of lack of intelligence – I totally agree – that is my arguement on why I am smarter than husband πŸ˜‰ For me, the most important reason, for disagreeing with this proposal is the disparity between boards. Once this disparity is removed, a rule of this sort can easily be implemented.

        Yes! coaching classes are just not for IITs but here the issue is IIT so commenting on that. Also, the standard of IIT is high.. expectations are high and yet we see many failing to make it in Standford and also not doing at par with the students of same level here.

        Standards of IITs are high, but obviously there might be some people who despite being from the IIT do not do as well, and there might be others from an obscure college who does exceedingly well.

        As far as I know the average is not growing. It is either steady or low because of the mounting pressure day by day.


        As far as the figures from my old school/town goes, percentage is steadily increasing. And this is one of the towns which has a huge number of students entering the IITs every year. But we can’t be sure until we see a country wide statistics.

        I guess this is an argument where either you like his initiative or not. I fall into first category. πŸ™‚ BJP/Communists and many are opposing too. It would be interesting to see how and if at all, this is implemented.


        I support Kapil Sibal’s reforms – but not this particular step and either way, he himself has clarified that he was misquoted and that he never meant to include any such cut-off and that it is not for the Govt to decide but for the IITs to decide πŸ™‚

        • Of course he had to retract because such reforms would never work in our country because the whole argument will turn into rich benefiting and the whole reservation angle (for OBCs) will creep in. Actually that is one major reason for me supporting it. ;P

          No party is fool enough to let go of that vote bank.


          If only reservations would reduce by this. I doubt if that will ever happen. Even if they do introduce such a cut-off, I am sure they would have a revised/lower cut-off for all the reserved groups – no party would dare touch that!

          • “For me, the most important reason, for disagreeing with this proposal is the disparity between boards. Once this disparity is removed, a rule of this sort can easily be implemented.”

            Smi, I missed this point before. As I mentioned above, I know that some universities give percentage weightage to CBSE and ICSE boards. They take PCM and add on some marks ( don’t know the exact calculation). I don’t know if it is a norm by universities across India. In this case, of course I won’t support the disparity because State boards always get more percentage.

            Sols, the state boards all have very diff marking standards – it is so different state to state. One workable option is to use percentiles instead. So instead of a cut-off percentage,for example, the top percentile from all boards could be automatically eligible for applying at the IITs. But again – as many others have pointed out, it might just end up increasing the pressure on the students. And coaching might still continue.. For all you know, most students might decide to give their 100% at the boards and then drop a year, join coaching classes and take the IIT entrance the next year.. So if reducing coaching classes is one of the primary objective – then grass roots level changes need to be brought in – quick fixes might just make it worse.

            Even though we know such reforms be it from any party would never be implemented in our country, I really enjoyed this discussion. It reminded me of old times when you posted similar though provoking debates. πŸ™‚


            I loved it too πŸ™‚ I stayed up till 11:30 last night – something I never ever do on a working day replying and went to bed only when threatened by husband πŸ™‚

    • Yesterday, there was an article about how much coaching class teachers are paid…The good ones can earn up to Rs. 2 cr. a year! Imagine that…


      Disgusting, isn’t it? But that just shows the demand. People are ready to pay through their nose because they feel that their children cannot do without it..

  6. I am glad I found both positive and negative sides to ur post! Positive side – I never ever attended any coaching classes πŸ˜€ errr negative side – I ran away from studies to get married to an IITian :mrgreen:

    Well my husband is from UP and he says most parents there are more keen on getting their kids to IIT and are willing to make them not score much in 12th. Well as shameful as it is to tell this (yeah my ego gets hurt only on this one) – My husband was a topper in his IIT entrance exam 😦 He is very proud of his IIT tag and I always tell him it’s no use if he can’t talk to a person about anything beyond Quantum Physics and Freakonomics. I am the only conversation starter and ender when we meet all his IIT friends….SIGH!!!


    There are parents like this Saksh, but not every parent is like this. And some people, irrespective of how they perform in the 12th, are geeky πŸ™‚ I know loads of IITians – some of my closest friends are IITians and to be honest, not all of them are this geeky – some are all-rounders, some are just regular intelligent people – all sorts. Just like any other college. So I would not think that not doing well in 12th is a regular feature at all. One of my friends – all three brothers were IITians and all of them multi-talented, and they all topped in the ISC boards too. My issue is with the percentage when we have so much of disparity amongst our boards.

    Arggh I know I was supposed to put intelligent comments here 😦 please do blame that on my lack of an intelligent degree :mrgreen:

    πŸ™‚

      • Sols after seeing your comment I asked him yesterday casually if he believes in parallel universe and his first reaction was How come you are asking intelligent questions for a change 😦 and then before I could say I was joking he gave me a whole lecture abt it and said that I don’t have to worry abt him meeting the other sakshi coz if parallel universes meet it will result in Big Bang 😯 Needless to say all this ended with me have a big bang inside my head 😯 😯 😯 *sakshi vows to herself that she will not act smart and try to pass off Sols intelligent questions as hers*

  7. I agree on the disparity in various syllabi. Growing up my cousins went to CBSE and ICSE schools and I was in state syllabus and always thought that theirs was little bit more advanced than mine and there by gave them little bit more edge when coming to IIT/JEE.

    Yes, there is a lot of difference in the various syllabi too – along with the marking standards.. I think it all makes it very complicated..

    Coaching is a very lucrative business, the network of which will strongly oppose any move to reduce their importance. Even if the child is doing well without it and is excelling on his/her own, parents feel that he/she is incomplete or is missing something when they do not go to coaching centers!

    Yes, coaching has become a lucrative business – one which cannot be overthrown without drastic measures to improve our education system.

    For now, I do not understand why they want to break something that is already working.
    I know -that is exactly my sentiment too.

  8. ‘Surely, if we do need to curb the culture of coaching classes, what we need to do is, ensure that our Class 12 syllabus is geared up for the competitive exams rather than increase the focus on marks in the Class 12 exams. And we need teachers in schools who are able to guide the children through these exams. We have children going to tuitions and coaching classes from Class 1 onwards – surely, there is something wrong in the system? And not in the way the IIT entrance criteria are structured? The fact that so many of our students need coaching outside of school is just an indicator that somewhere our schools are not performing the role they are meant to be.’

    I agree with everything you have written here, Smitha. In most of the schools, they don’t select good teachers, one of the reason might be that the salary was not good earlier and now, the salary is very good. The teachers resigned at their whim and fancy, without caring about the children’s future. Within one year, the students of class X had three teachers for maths (my niece’s experience). The students take time to settle down with the teachers, to which fact, no one gives importance. So they are compelled to go for
    tuitions, which I personally hate.


    I know. It is such a sad state that teachers who are such an important part of a child’s upbringing, these days tend to be demoralized and uninterested. You are right, in a lot of cases, children are forced to go to coaching classes because they do not have good teachers in school. Unless this is addressed, there is no point in trying to curb coaching classes.

    The cut-off marks for the entrance exams for Regional engg. college admissions also vary from CBSE, State syllubus, Matriculatiion syllubus, Anglo Indian syllubus…because the standard of the syllubus vary.

    Absolutely!

    ‘He is doing a lot of things in the right direction, to reform our education system. I think IITs is one place where things are functioning the way it should and he should just let it stay the way it is.’

    You are very correct, Smitha. Nice post and now will go and read the other comments!
    Thank you πŸ™‚ Glad you agree πŸ™‚

  9. Most of the children studying in CBSE, shift to State Board syllabus because they think that they can score more marks there. Till now, this system was targeted to get admission in local engg. colleges. IITs had their own entrance and the Plus II marks were not taken into consideration. But Regional engg. colleges, which are nearly (80%) as good as IITs, take Plus II marks into consideration. Some colleges include English also with PCM marks, for averaging he cut-off marks. IIT aspirants had better chance if they had studied in CBSE syllabus. With the latest Pay Commission recommendation, the salary of the teachers has increased nearly 60%. So we might get better teachers in the school level itself, in the future.

    Yes, it is all a complicated mish-mash, isn’t it? Ideally, there should be one exam for all the engg colleges instead of so many different exams. Now students have to study differently for every exam – it just makes life difficult for students.. Yes, lets hope we get better teachers at all levels.

    They have started coaching centres from class VIII and I pity the children who go for tuitions not for the current year exam, but for the entrance exam of engg. entrance, which comes 4 year later.


    God! It is crazy! Children have no life apart from preparing from various entrances.. I wish things were a little simpler for them

  10. I agree with you when you say that the course content for 11th and 12th needs to be changed…Without this change, increasing the minimum eligibility marks for IIT will only put more pressure on students because not only will they have to take JEE coaching classes but they will also have to work hard for their 12th. boards…Thank god my studying days are over!

    I know! Not only will it increase the pressure on the students – it will do little to curb coaching centres.I am thankful that my studying days are over – but makes me worry for my daughter 😦

  11. Smitha, this has been on my mind too. I personally do not support the system although my reasons are differnt. The reason is that I do not think that marks are that important. I mean, why do we always have this belief that people who score well are the best at their jobs? I have written several posts on this theme on my blog and I personally believe that aptitude is most important. I mean, the people who get into medicine for example, how many of them really have the aptitude? Often people who are immersed in their books are not so good at other things and may not always be the best for a particular job. I am not saying they aren’t, I am saying that it is not necessary that someone with seventy percent is not better than them.


    ‘ aptitude is most important’ – I totally agree! Aptitude is the most important. Yes, marks do not reflect everything – I totally agree. Having said that, people might also argue that the entrance exams are just another test – so should we be using it as a measure ? Yes, aptitude is the most important. In India, a lot of youngster are forced to go into fields which might not be their choice at all, sadly..

  12. I liked Deeps point Smithu and I hv seen that happen too! We hd a Maths teacher in school who ws just too gud but when he saw students gng to coaching classes, he started taking them himself and they were like another classroom – a replica of what he found in school probably! And obviously, he would give more attention to whoever attended the coaching classes! Its sad but true that everyone wants to make money and though many teachers are competent enough, they give their best in the coaching classes! It hurts but aren’t we responsible for it too! The search for coaching classes starts at the same time or even before we start looking out for a college!

    Yes, Swaram, sadly all of us have come across such examples.. I think teachers are not motivated enough and are not paid enough either.. So the few who come into teaching, wanting to do well, give up midway..

    Yes, coaching and tutions have become more important than the actual school work.

    And I totally agree that marks alone can’t judge a person’s intelligence but some criteria is required to filter them! But then, the state and central boards come into picture! I studied in central school and most of the times, the State school ppl taught we know more than them though we hd a problem again when it came to the state entrance exams! Half of the marks for this would be taken from the board exams and the scores used to be really high there but ws nt the case in central schools! So, if there is gonna b a cut-off like 80-85%, its a sure thing many ppl who deserve to study in good institutions dont stand a chance bcoz of the board they belong to! So, the main thing here would be to have a standard syllabus then! That wud assure uniformity and equality across the country! I know it may be difficult but think its very much necessary in case of the cut-off!

    You know, using percentiles would probably be a better solution until we can have a common board. For instance, if grade A is the grade with the highest percentile – that could be used as the cut-off. So all grade A students from all boards would become eligible..

    • Hmm thatz cud b a temp solution til they can come up with standardization!

      Yes, thats the only possibility.. But I am not sure if it will reduce coaching classes as such.

  13. what a post and what a discussion in the comments section..
    I agree with ur point that the syllabus should be changed.
    to include the class XII marks to curb the coaching centers is not a good idea as these coaching centers would then start coaching the class XI and XII and that would be even more horrible…

    Yes, I think by doing this, Sibal would be creating a new issue, rather than reforming anything..

  14. if we have unique curricculam and a board for the entire country,then 80-85 % is a nice idea.But according to current situvation ,in many hse boards scoring 80-85 is not a big deal (especially most of the state boards,metriculation , anglo indian etc) and it is not same with boards like cbse , ise ,icse.And at the other side, students from cities like delhi,mumbai,chennai,culcutta will be getting better\best exposure and training in cracking competetive exams like IITJEE compared to rural areas or other towns.

    Very true..

    What i feel is first we should have a centralised board for the entire country(or at least all the boards should maintain a minimum standard in designing curriculam,conducting exam etc).Then impliment the minumum -75 rule(i don’t think 80 minimum is a good idea – it will increase the load for atleast some students and some time it may end up in making our kids mere vegetables or nerd)

    Absolutely!

    But complete shift from entrance to exam marks is not at all recomendable because most of our exam is not designed for asessing a student’s talent\assessing\analysing\reasoning etc But for testing his mugging up and reproducing capasity(I’m damn sure in most of the hse boards,refering and studying past 5-6 years question papers are more than enough to score good markes….icse\ise is an excemption)

    I know – I totally agree.

    @ teachers are not competent —-Unfortunatily most of our school teachers are very low payed(teachers in city is an exception).So i don’t think at present it is practical or not.May be government\respective school management should design some ‘state of art’ training for teachers which equip themselves to train and direct students(i often feel sorry for those kids who started there iit coaching since 8th standard and all….after all getting into iit is good and a great thing. but at the same time,certainly it is not the greatest thing or achivement in the world)).
    P.S : i strongly feel (i already said it many times) ,Our politicians should not play with\intervene\try to reform the (already successfull)systems in IIT\IIM .It should be left to qualified and able people

    I agree, with everything you have said – makes perfect sense.

  15. I am not against coaching but how its become mandatory is very disturbing. After a particular time whoever didn’t join classes was considered dumb. Thankfully, I passed before that. I have seen how seriously and religiously the classes are taken in Maharashtra and am not sure how effective they are. All they teach you are tricks to score higher. I agree with your points on different boards – different level of ease in getting a particular %, but we do need some reforms or restructuring in the eduction system..


    It is sad, isn’t it? Coaching has become as mandatory as schooling! We certainly need reforms and restructuring in our education system.. Something is definitely not right, when every child needs to go to coaching classes..

  16. I guess Mr. Sibal is just a bit too idealistic-but the intentions are right in place. We do need auniformity across states and schools, students must be encouraged to focus on their school syllabi and coaching should be the last option for kids-but he just went about it the top-down way instead of the other way round.

    I agree. His intentions are definitely in the right place – he is just focussing on the wrong area this time..

    If all schools have a common curriculum (with a common marking criteria) and the curriculum matches that required for JEE-students will naturally perform better in both-instead of having to chose between focusing on Boards vs JEE


    Absolutely! It is because the syllabi does not match entrance exam standards that children are forced to choose and attend coaching classes.. Even so, not many students ignore 12th boards entirely.

  17. One of our professors used to say ‘Put a donkey into IIT, he would come out as a successful engineer. It’s not about coming out of IIT, it’s about getting into IIT!’

    Yes, I have heard this too πŸ™‚

    Now probably Kapil was a little optimistic about getting a unanimous agreement on his ambition that no donkey (No offense to that poor animal) would be allowed to get into IIT. Backtracking may be resultant of realization of the fact that there are too many donkeys (me included :P) in the country to take no notice of! sad 😦

    I think it is a good plan – if we had a common board.. With so many different boards and standards – it just makes it very difficult to implement in a fair manner, sadly. I am sure it can be done, in a few years time. Even today, it is not everybody who gets into the IITs..

  18. Your header has such a beautiful impact, as soon as we open your page, Smitha!


    Thank you Sandhya πŸ™‚ These are from our little Diwali celebration here πŸ™‚ I love candles and any excuse to light them up is enough for me πŸ™‚

  19. We used to learn physics in tution from a govt school teacher. He was really good, and he never went to school to teach πŸ˜›

    Yes, thats the tragedy.. Good teachers prefer to do coaching 😦

    You are right when you say that schools need better teachers. We need to shift from rote to practical learning soon.. i would rather learn more from practicals than see black and white diagrams

    Absolutely! We need a lot of reform in our education system..

  20. Wish u would put a post for the Board exams being taken off too!

    I will try and do that. To be honest, my first impression of that was that it was a good move. Let me read up a bit and will post.

    the post and the comments are enlightening…

    Being in Kuwait, the IIT fever is yet to catch up…as for tuitions, only a few parents stay away.. even I did until this year (the kids r in 7th and 8th) I wouldnt have if I was a SAHM and if the teachers were doing their job. At first when I read the news, I thought like Solilo, but later when I thought about it, I realized that unless the teaching standards are improved and the country has a common board then the students have no other choice but to depend on the coaching/tution centers (if they are available) for every professional course and even for the 12th standard exams. Right now when I see my kids struggling to attend tuitions soon after they have finished a grueling session of school, I feel very sad. So imagine how hard it would be if one has to devote all their time in studying for the 12th board as well as for IIT. Is this an ideal situation? Shouldn’t our children have a life too?

    Exactly. My first impression was – not bad. Then the reality sunk in. I would not have known this but for the fact that I had an ICSE/ISC education and I saw a lot of difference in the marking when it came to state boards – each has it’s own style and that makes it so difficult for every student to have a level playing groubd, you know. Ideally, studying for 12th should be enough to get through the IIT – once our education system is revamped accordingly, things should be easier..Until then, I guess, percentage cut offs are difficult to implement. One thing that can be done is that we go for percentiles. So if grade A is the top grade – all students getting grade A will be eligible to apply at the IITs.. But then again, if the boards themselves are not enough to train students for the IITs – then students will still resort to coaching.

    2 of my first cousins are IIT’ians and I can see how well they are doing in life (career wise) but they were in cities where every facility was available. So in my opinion you can keep the 80-85% marks but it will ensure that only those from major cities and from good schools will manage it. The rest will have to forgo their dreams or never dream of an IIT.

    You are right. When I was studying, I had an advantage because of where we were. There was a lot of awareness around and ample opportunities. It was not the same for some of my cousins. As you say, if this is implemented at this stage, ‘only those from major cities and from good schools will manage it. The rest will have to forgo their dreams or never dream of an IIT.’

    • i remember in 1996, iit’s had increased the quota of DASA students. And a huge lot came from the arab/middle east countries, indians of course. they did not have to give JEE, but they had other criteria to fulfill. each one had a tough time understanding concepts and then there were the girls who got in through JEE – the dynamics between those entering through JEE and those without was alarming.they treated the dasa students like untouchables. many of the DASA students were glad enough to get a minimum GPA and get out. a few years later iit’s stopped that. iit’s were doing this because these students were paying the fees in dollars. at least that is what was happening in iit bombay.

      Yes, I remember – that was when we were in college and I remember being quite outraged too.. And certainly – that was wrong and am glad that it was stopped. It is sad when things like this happen. Clearly IITs have their issues too – but still, I think it does manage to do better than lots of other colleges in India. Am sure that there are lots that can be improved everywhere, but I just feel that our primary and secondary education itself has a lot to improve, and without touching that, trying to change IITs and IIMs don’t make sense..

      smitha, feel free to delete this –

      Why would I want to delete this, Anrsoh? I have learnt so much from your comment – every comment is welcome πŸ™‚

  21. I am with you. This is a bad idea, primarily because there are so many different boards. I have absolutely no doubt that if the percentage in 12th is raised to 80-85%, various boards will start competing in giving more marks to their students, and the whole system, like most others where the govt puts its nose, will get ruined. Merit will become impossible to spot from the results.


    ‘ various boards will start competing in giving more marks to their students, and the whole system, like most others where the govt puts its nose, will get ruined.’ – Oh dear! I did not even think of this possibility! Yes, you are right, that is likely to happen and will just end up diluting the whole process..

              • Che kaisa JKG hai yeh? I think we should take away the crown from him for leaving Hetal all alone in Bharuch :mrgreen: Tears fill my eyes thinking of Hetal packing all the stuff and lugging it all by herself into the train, sitting and watching the fields passing by through the window and with a heavy heart singing

                mere saajan hain us paar, main man maar, hun is paar
                o mere railgaadi, abakii baar, le chal paar, le chal paar

                ayyo big big sobs for Hetal!! IHM can have the crown now for all by myself?? πŸ˜€

                  • She won officially and yet… look at the greed… !!!!!!

                    I had to come without reservation… the JKG stayed up from 12 in the night to 3 in the morning waiting for the bloody tc to allot a seat… !!!!!! pay fines…

                    she comes after enjoying 4 extra days of vacation !!!!!! plus her parents in the same town… add to that Hriday doesnt want his parents in Bharuch as he is completely busy with grand pa’s !!!!!!!!

                    Hubby away… all old boyfriends and what not… dont even want to think… sigh..

  22. First off, love the header, its gorgeous. πŸ™‚

    Thanks loads, GM! Just a few pics taken at home – put together πŸ™‚

    Secondly i agree with you. The board exams are a test of the student’s cramming abilities and nothing more. The IIT entrances is about the student’s aptitude and ability to grasp concepts, exactly what is needed to benefit an admission into the top institute of the nation.


    ‘The IIT entrances is about the student’s aptitude and ability to grasp concepts, exactly what is needed to benefit an admission into the top institute of the nation.’ – I totally agree! So glad you agree!

  23. You said it all, Smiths. Indeed, our education system itself is crap. I remember the times my Math teacher used to drone on and on and on, and only Math geniuses could understand her. Needless to say, that particular girl did go to IIT. But the rest of us? I agree , we were dumb. But that’s what teachers are for, right? To raise our standards, and not just shun us! Oh, don’t even get me started on the topic of Teachers. I hate the bunch of them!! Good post πŸ™‚


    ‘But that’s what teachers are for, right? To raise our standards, and not just shun us!’ – I know! You know when I see the teachers here, I am really impressed – they are so patient with the children.. It will make a huge difference if we can attract good and dedicated teachers to our education system.

  24. I dont think coaching classes are wrong but pushing kids to go there or kids going just because everyone else is ; is a wrong reason to take coaching. XYZ is in Kota …you go too- thats wrong of parents.


    I agree. For a lot of parents ,it is almost a status symbol – and so many children are forced to apply for the engg entrances when they do not have the inclination or the interest..

  25. Smitha.. both my cousins r Kharagpur IIT alumni’s.. while one chose US the other had a look at US but returned to India… think Kharagpur was on of the first IIT’s in the country..

    Most of my friends are IIT KGP Alumini’s πŸ™‚ Nowadays, a lot of people do prefer to come back to India.

    The Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (DevanāgarΔ«: ΰ€­ΰ€Ύΰ€°ΰ€€ΰ₯€ΰ€― ΰ€ͺΰ₯ΰ€°ΰ₯Œΰ€¦ΰ₯ΰ€―ΰ₯‹ΰ€—ΰ€Ώΰ€•ΰ₯€ ΰ€Έΰ€‚ΰ€Έΰ₯ΰ€₯ΰ€Ύΰ€¨ ΰ€–ΰ€‘ΰ€Όΰ€—ΰ€ͺΰ₯ΰ€°) (commonly known as IIT Kharagpur or IIT KGP) is an autonomous engineering and technology-oriented institute of higher education established by the Government of India in 1951. The first of the thirteen IITs to be established, it is officially recognised as an Institute of National Importance by the Government of India and is regarded as one of the best engineering institutions in India.

    Wow! That is so interesting!

  26. I believe if teachers are paid good salary as other get in IT industry or any good position in mnc….and there shd be strict rules..kind of target that their student have to achieve a standard %…they may become serious towards their job

    True.. Good salaries and incentives will go a long way.

    Plus their shd be one more rule that no teacher can run coaching class like we have in our company that no body can take another part time job of coaching or anything…


    I don’t know about rules, Rash. People might just decide to quit their teaching jobs and do coaching full time 😦 Which would be worse for the students.. I think there needs to be an effort to attract and retain good teachers in schools, giving them good salaries and incentives..

    % shd not matter at all…this give stress on craming rather than real knowledge….I dont like this mad race behind % which stress student as well as their parents…

    Very true.. People will just cram a bit more ..

    As pal said above…above eduction system is crap…

    Yes, there is a lot that can be changed in our education system..

  27. Here in Kuwait the teachers are not paid well, although recently they did hike their salary in a small way (they increased the school fees too). Most of the teachers take tuitions while there are some who make more than any other professionals via tuitions alone! My children were very surprised to see concepts being explained thoroughly in the tuition classes which they seldom saw in their regular classes! I do not know whom to blame but if it is the salary which is the factor then they ought to be paid well.


    You know, this is becoming very common – teachers teach better at tuitions because they make more money there. Unless the govt works seriously on reforms – this trend is unlikely to stop. Salary is important. While I do understand that teaching is a vocation, teachers should get better remuneration, so that the best talent thinks in terms of teaching as an option..

    On the other hand the private schools (I am sure in India too) are getting enough funds to raise the salary of the teachers as well as hire experienced teachers. The question is whether the management is willing to forgo the profit to do so. If education was not a profitable business, one wouldn’t see schools and colleges mushrooming like never before . And sadly the government schools which were doing well are now being closed down due to lack of students (mainly in Kerala)..

    ‘The question is whether the management is willing to forgo the profit to do so. If education was not a profitable business, one wouldn’t see schools and colleges mushrooming like never before . ‘ – Very true.. I have heard such horrible stories from my cousins who are teachers – it is really sad in private schools too. So a lot of people prefer not to teach – if they have an option..

    Hence at present it is the parent and the student who is at loss.. one has to pay the school fees as well as the tution fees and also see the child forced to slog like a donkey..


    Exactly! And the poor children – it makes no sense.. Some of my friends are thinking of staying abroad mainly due to the school systems here – they feel that children are performing better here because it is not such a cut-throat competition and more dedicated teachers..

  28. There are so many eng and medical colleges that don’t have proper infrastructure or professors. Most of the seats in professional colleges are cornered by paid seat students and deserving students don’t get admission. Our primary education across the country specially in many parts of rural India is woefully inadequate. Instead of focusing on such problems for some reason the Edu Ministry is always after the IITs and IIMs. I guess they haven’t heard of the golden words, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.”
    The funny thing is that if this rule were to be implemented, it would have only resulted in the coaching classes getting another avenue of earning by starting extra classes for the 12th Std exam. And to think that Sibal wanted to start this to stop the students from only concentrating on JEE and thereby give less importance to coaching classes. Would have backfired big time.

  29. I think actually the problem is with the tuitions… Except mathematics, the tuitions are pretty useless. Even maths, if one is attentive in class, it can be picked up easily. This tution culture is not going to do any good to ‘educating’ students.

    Destination Infinity

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