Under the new format, instead of one exam for getting admission to any of the 15 IITs across Inda, there will now be two examinations - JEE-Main and JEE-Advanced. In the main exam, 50% weightage will be given to performance in the Class 12 board exams, which will be used as a filtering process. Student's performance in the advanced examination will determine his/her admission to the IITs.
Besides this, there will be no separate examination for admission to Non-IIT engineering colleges from next year onwards. Admission to the various National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and centrally funded engineering colleges across India will be completely based on the JEE-Main and JEE-Advanced examination.
"If there can be one test for the more competitive AIIMS examination, which has fewer seats and more candidates, and IIMs, why can there be no single test for IITs? The process being adopted is more cumbersome and it will only add to pressure on students," said mathematician Anand Kumar.
He further told media persons that the move to change the examination format from 2013 would leave the current batch of students all the more confused. "They have already completed their Class XI. If at all the new system is to be implemented, it should be effective from 2014, so that the students get ample time to adjust to it. After all, the changes are for students only," he added while reacting to the Union HRD minister's decision.
Maintaining that there was still uncertainty about the mechanism of two-tier test, he said if the JEE-Main and JEE-Advanced examination are held the same day, it would be psychologically draining for the poor students. "More thought needs to be given to the proposed changes before implementing them," he added.
"The proposed reform to bring focus back to the schooling system by giving weightage to performance in Class XII Board examinations normalized on percentile basis would also be a serious challenge, as there is huge gulf between schools of the CBSE and ICSE boards and those under state boards. The formula to be adopted for percentile calculation is also not clear, as all state boards have different yardsticks," Kumar added.
Anand said the new system would make students more dependent on coaching, as they would have to prepare for three different tests - JEE-Main, JEE-Advanced (which will also have aptitude test), and for scoring high marks in the Plus Two examinations. "What is more, the students from rural areas, who don't have the advantage of quality schooling, will face disadvantage in qualifying for the JEE-Advanced examination for no fault of theirs," he said.