Search This Blog

Sunday, May 15, 2016

JEE used to be student friendly

I am surprised by looking at this news item today. All sorts of restrictions on the students sitting for JEE Advanced next Sunday. I must thank my stars that JEE used to be so student friendly in my times.

It now appears that JEE wants to put the students through extreme stress (as if the stress of JEE was not bad enough) and the selection criteria is not who knows Physics, Chemistry and Maths, but who can handle stress. Obviously, anyone who can handle this kind of stress, is less likely to feel stressed once at IIT, and IIT Guwahaty should prefer that.

Reporting 90 minutes before the exam. Not everyone lives near the centers. Someone traveling long distance, of course, would have to come to town the evening before. But now you are insisting that even people coming from 50-100 KM distance check into a hotel near the center the previous evening. That will allow the candidates to have a proper sleep in the night, get up at a reasonable time and still reach 90 minutes before the exam. May be the hotels near JEE centers should have a special JEE offer. We will drop you at the center in the morning, keep your mobile and other things, bring you back for a quick lunch, and so on.

Does frisking take that much time. At the airports, we see lines moving rather quickly and they handle a huge amount of traffic under quite stressful conditions. Why can't we plan to have multiple frisking points at each center. I also understand that collecting biometric data for each candidate takes time, but is it necessary to ask everyone to report 90 minutes before the exam. Of course, an easier solution would have been to do the biometric data collection during the exam. Increase the time of the exam by 2 minutes, and every candidate will be disturbed once for 2 minutes during the exam for biometric. But that would be student friendly.

No watches. Of course, Samsung watch can communicate with the outside world, and you can't differentiate between one kind of watch and the other. But I won't be able to give an exam with this condition. When I am under stress, I need to have the time in front of me continuously. Even 1 minute is important. Announcing the time every 30 minutes is quite useless. (Wouldn't it be better for IITs to insist that there be wall clocks in every room, may be more than one, where exams are being held. But that would be student friendly.)

No shoes. I guess, you could hide a bluetooth device in the shoes. But how would one use that device without the invigilator noticing it. Wouldn't it be better to ensure better invigilation than to put such kinds of restrictions.

No full sleeves shirts or . I guess the idea is to bare more of your flesh since the hidden parts of the body could be carrying small communication devices. But where do we stop. May be force shorts instead of pants. And frankly, if someone wants to put a small communication device inside the clothes, even small size clothes are good enough for that. The rules also say that large buttons are not allowed. Apparently, large buttons could be the communication devices. Now, who decides what is large. And what happens if the size of the button is slightly larger than the normal. There is a disagreement between the student and the invigilator on what constitutes large. Would that person be allowed to sit in the exam without a shirt.

No metal. Many girl candidates are unlikely to realize that ear rings are made of a metal. What happens - you put away that gold ear ring outside and we are not responsible for its safety? Would my spectacles be allowed. Or would I have to buy a new pair made of plastic. Would the bracelet worn by Sikhs be allowed. Why no metal. I am sure IITs want to make sure that those with various superstitions about some rings doing wonders for them are not selected. Only those who have a strong belief in rationality and scientific processes should study in IITs.

The primary reason to do all this is to avoid cheating, which can normally be done by good invigilation. But instead of seeing how invigilation can be improved, we will put all the burden on the students. I recall when IITs had moved to 2-stage process in 1998. It was said that it is impossible to be fool proof about security when 10 lakh students are taking the exam. So in the second stage in which a much smaller number will be allowed, we can have a much tighter security and invigilation. So you can't do a tight invigilation when there are 2 lakh candidates. But what was the need to shortlist 2 lakh candidates. Why can't we trust JEE Mains a bit more and shortlist say only 1 lakh or even less.

If you look at the recent history of IIT JEE, the thought process is not "will this give us better students" "is this going to be student-friendly" but only "how can we organize JEE in a way that courts don't intervene and its reputation remains intact."


steve said...

Rightly said sir, making reporting 90 minutes prior to the examination does not make sense, they should rather disturb them between examination. Also managing time will become a big concern now to the point where actually this might affect the result of the exam...
However i think investing in training of the invigilators is something difficult and not worthy especially when services of the invigilators will be needed only for one day.

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

@steve, There are many things JEE can do, if they so desire. Increase the remuneration of invigilators. Have a video camera in every room to monitor whether invigilators are doing their job or not. Have less students per invigilator, more space per student, etc. Ensure that centers are made only in places of repute. Make higher payments to centers to encourage that. And be ruthless with removing a center from next year's exam on slightest shortcoming.

Akash Goyal said...

Analog watch is allowed.

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

@Akash, the JEE website clearly says: "All types of watches."

Akash Goyal said...

Ya but now they are allowing analog watch ,as per JEE ADVANCED website.

Sai Kiran Sharma said...

Some things in India always make me wonder. On one hand we talk about making a student friendly system, a human friendly system on the other hand we do end up making some of the most unfriendly systems on earth ever.
Same applies to the so called "tag" chasing we do. We all know deep down that its the human who makes the institution and not the other way around.
We talk about making institutes of excellence, and end up collecting people who are already doing well, ofcourse thats one of the ways. But then, same binge is applied to almost everything. For example I came across the selection criteria of certain Institute based in Delhi, wanting to be one of the best. Their selection criteria emphasizes so much on publications of high impact factor. But the thing is, everyone in the publishing world knows a high impact factor is not necessarily a high quality research work.
Second problem is, not all best universities are based in USA. There are some in east asia as well, but the institution chose to conduct interviews for faculty recruitment in the USA alone.
These are the things which make me want to study the minds of those who are the helm of affairs at these institutes in India.

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

Thanks, @Akash. I did check the JEE Advanced site at the time of publishing the blog, and it wasn't there. There appears to be an announcement late evening yesterday.

Saurabh Joshi said...

This is completely inline with the attitude of IITG administration. You will be amazed with the kind of code of conduct they have for students and faculty members.

Saswata said...

You are correct that IIT Guwahati students are under extreme stress primarily due to academic reasons. Despite struggles by many of us over years, nothing much could be done about it. The comments on this petition tell the detailed story. A lot of alleged suicides have happened here in the last three years. Many students are forced to survive on anti-depressants. Some have taken to substance abuse and alcoholism.

Apart from academic reasons, the rules and codes of conduct for both students and faculty have been extremely suffocating for someone to survive with peace of mind at IIT Guwahati. There are restrictions on writing blogs, sending emails, posting on Facebook, walking inside the campus (for girls, especially), going outside the campus in a group and so on.

I guess IIT advanced examination rules are possibly created by some people from IIT Guwahati, along with people of similar mindset fro other IITs. For every problem, the solution created by these people often becomes a bigger problem in itself.

siddharth jain said...

When i reached one of the centre GEC, Ajmer at 12 noon i saw many boys just coming out wearing vests as they were asked to remove long sleeve shirts and many ithers who opted to let the sleeves be torn off than removing the shirt. I felt bad , these are students not some thief or a criminal.Also due to only one hour gap for reporting for paper-2 students were forced to stay there in midst of temperatures of 43-44 degrees.

सौरभ भारती said...

JEE is no more conquered by the serious intellectuals. Competition is so high that Rank 1 to 1000 is one and same, intellectually. It is a different ball game now. It's about toughness of mind, literally. It's about hammering your mental strength, and test it out. "Can you give excel in your no-comfort-zone?" is the challenge of the day. "Ghar mein to Kutta bhi Sher hota hai" is the argument. Lol.

PS : I wish serious intellectuals find the the brilliant minds at young age and groom them before dungeons like IITs capture them and feed them to corporate world (like in the "How to Train your Dragon")

Sarvesh Shimpi said...

Sir, i have got admission in NIT Karnataka 1st year course in 2016. Can i appear for jee in 2017?