JEE Success may rise to 1%

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Even after Modi’s 5 new IITs are established, less than 1% of the candidates applying for the IITs will get entrance.

The Modi government plans to establish 5 new IITs with the assistance of foreign nations in Goa, J&K, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. Along with the establishment of IITs by the previous government, this could soon bring up the total number of IITs to 21 (from an existing 16)!

While the Goa campus will receive funding and support from the US, the plans for the rest of the campuses have so far not been disclosed.

This is not the first time the nation has used foreign help in setting up IITs: in the 1950s and ‘60s under Jawaharlal Nehru, IIT campuses in Bombay, Madras, Kanpur and Delhi were established in collaboration with the erstwhile USSR, West Germany, USA and the UK respectively.

Considering all the issues facing existing IITs, the value of having new ones can be questioned. However, there is no doubt about the demand.

Earlier this year, 13.56 lakh candidates had appeared for the JEE Mains. Only 1.26 lakh of those candidates went on to sit for the second-level of testing, the JEE Advanced. Out of these 1.26 lakh, 27 thousand candidates eventually passed the examination, beating out 98% of their initial competitors.

Unfortunately, the IITs have only 8822 seats.

While all the 27 thousand who passed the JEE Advanced were given ranks, the higher ranked ones were luckier than those ranked below them.

In the end, less than 0.6 percent of the people who sat for the tests actually got into the IITs.

In the coming years, these new IITs may increase the intake substantially.

But even if they double the seats, the IITs will still remain one of the most exclusive colleges to get into in the world.


Our regular readers have had a lot to say about the topic. Here is a small sample of their opinions.

“While Na-Mo’s intent is good, I personally feel that we already have far too many IITs and this is bound to dilute the quality quotient of an IIT degree, which is already showing in quite a good number of international ratings.” (Ranjan Khastgir, IIT Kharagpur.)

“Every State established on Linguistic basis must have its own IIT. Other smaller states can use IITs which are closest to their linguistic requirements.” (Rangendra Aggarwala, B.Sc Phy, Chem, Math)

“The quest should be to encourage and improve existing “Centres of Excellence” and/or promote, if need be, new “Centres of Excellence” (not necessarily IITs) by allocating requisite resources and more importantly executing implementation without “leakages” (read Corruption).” (Aloke Bose, An old IITian)


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  1. Satya ChakravarthyOctober 1, 2014 at 10:25 pmReply

    One of the perceived problems with the number of IITs and the number of students taken in through the JEE by the IITs is that of quality dilution with larger numbers (of both the IITs and their intakes). I believe this is misplaced. Firstly, why we be so obsessed with high quality at the undergraduate level? This is just sheer snobbery. Instead, we should look at affordability for good quality technical education (not necessarily very high as perceived at present) for most deserving Indian citizens. Just compare this with the German situation. Germany has 9 TUs — the technical universities. It is a country of the size of, say, Maharashtra. Even discounting the population imbalance, Maharashtra should be talking about having at least 9 IITs at the very minimum. And, similarly for every state. An additional 5 IITs is nothing when compared to the magnitude of what is warranted. Instead, people clamour for brand building, when we can’t even promise decent quality education for our citizens. Each of the TUs admits 100s or 1000s of students in each if its departments. Teaching is done in auditoria, not classrooms. Multiple teaching assistants per class are used to run hands-on/laboratory classes/demonstrations and for exam evaluations. Such paltry faculty-to-student ratios are disadvantageous to the student surely, but Germany’s economy would probably shut down if the TUs shut down because its technical industry depends so closely on the products of the TUs and the Hochfachschules. And, the quality of Germany engineering is no doubt top class, even with any bad teaching-learning that may possibly happen from bad faculty-to-student ratios. On the contrary, it is doubtful if even a blip in the Indian stock markets would happen if the IITs shut down (probably the New York stock exchange may witness some change!). The undergraduates from the IITs are utterly hyped up like it happens in no other country. While it is going to take a long time to set up newer and newer IITs up to the point of ensuring good quality for them at the required level of their numbers, an easier thing to do in the interim is to drastically increase the number of admissions through the JEE by a factor between 2-10. This may dilute the quality, but so what? What have we achieved with whatever quality that has existed or exists so far? How has the Indian economy gained from it? Instead, we need to be focusing on research, and we need students to stay back in our post-graduate/PhD programmes after their undergraduate. This will improve the lot of the IITs in their international standings regardless of their numbers and the number of students entering at the undergraduate level. We need to do a market survey on how many more students to take in through the JEE that would fill the post-graduate/PhD admissions of all the IITs after catering to all the US universities’ graduate programmes, IIM/MBA programmes, gaming programming jobs, big data analytics jobs, financial consulting jobs, marketing jobs, software jobs, and core jobs, except the last of which have nothing to do with the so-called quality education that is imparted. And, while copying the German model of large classrooms with 100s or 1000s of students, let’s also simultaneously copy the American model of socking each student a whopping tuition fee that he/she needs to earn through educational loans to know the value of what they are getting (which they don’t, at the moment). And, let’s use all this tuition money into research by the faculty (and students who would stay back in the country to do the research) — pay attractive stipends, get good equipment and other research infrastructure, go to international conferences and make a mark, etc., similar to the large alumni endowments that Ivy-league institutions enjoy. After all, if JEE coaches can enjoy fat salaries that they can take home, why shouldn’t IIT faculty milk the same kids to enjoy some research funding, pay them back if they chose to stay on, and improve India’s research standing in the process?

  2. Nitin Agrawal, IIT AlumniOctober 2, 2014 at 1:25 pmReply

    Opening new IITs is not the solution. We first need to get the current 16 IITs to the IIT standard. If this is not addressed IITs will loose its international value and will remain just an engineering college. Also for the existing IITs we need to increase their relevance to the current needs of the Industry. This should be the focus. Once this is achieved, we can think of increasing the seats.

  3. AK DasOctober 13, 2014 at 3:32 pmReply

    Garbage in, garbage out. Poor faculty quality will lead to that. Call the institutions IIT or by any other name.

    Why is the government not setting up more IISc’s? We need a lot of research and not only produce BTechs who ultimately do not take up engineering careers.

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