Wednesday, July 11, 2012

One nation–One test

Kapil Sibal, the esteemed human resources minister of government of India seems to be in the lime light for some or the other controversial proposals. the recent one being the “One Nation One Test” plan. From what I understood it is his proposal to have 1 entrance examination for both IITs and IIIFT’s and NIT’s. He is also proposing a SAT like infrastructure for Indian institutions.

In theory, I am all for 1 exam for both the IIT’s and the rest of the Engineering institutions. This will make students write 1 less exam than they are used to. What I don’t like is his proposal of adding weightage from the board exams to the entrance exams. Considering we do not hold the same syllabus for all the students across the country, this will be a bad thing for the students from ICSE or CBSE board exams who usually have tougher standards than most state board exams. They propose they can use statistics and make it all equal, one thing to keep in mind is that a students life should not be determined by statistics. 

I find his reasoning for the inclusion of board exam results to entrance exam ridiculous (“students are spending more time in coaching for IITs”), Only a fool will put all the eggs in 1 basket and coach himself/herself only for IIT and nothing else. Most students prepare for all the different entrance exams possible including their present state’s entrance exam.

Lastly, the examination similar to SAT. I don’t see much benefit in the same. In the USA, where the admissions are based on SAT, students can apply for schools/universities outside their residential state and if they qualify they will get admitted (granted they will pay higher fees). But in India the admissions are controlled by the state governments and there is a limited amount (if any) of seats for students from outside the state.

One thing I would like to see is to get rid of the absolute scores in the undergraduate examinations and assign GPA’s instead. I remember the nightmare it was to convert from the marks obtained to the GPA’s while applying for admissions to graduate degrees.