Tamil Nadu Students and their IITJEE Chase
The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) is the most respected among educational institutions across the country when it comes to science and technology. Educational aspirations of any informed pupil in India would certainly have hatched a dream for stepping into IIT. For getting into these prestigious institutions, which currently has 19 campuses across the nation, one has to crack the so called hard-to- crack IIT-JEE (IIT Joint Entrance Examination). JEE is the common entrance exam and is the only way to step in to one of these educational heavens.
In tune to the increasing popularity and ever increasing applicants over years, the JEE was reformatted as JEE-Advanced since 2013. Analyzing the data about the study on the success rate of students based on their board of studies, Tamil Nadu’s performance is barely even noticeable. While it is evident fact that pupils from the CBSE board fare better than any other boards in India every year, in recent years students from Andra Board are also catching up with them. Here is a comparison of the number of applicants and winners from different states in 2013 and 2014.
One of the FAQ in this regard is why aren’t students from other streams capable of shining better compared to those from CBSE? Yet another question that frequents recently is why students from some other state boards shine better than the rest.
Answering the first is rather easier, as it pertains to only the content and approach. The syllabus prescribed by the JEE is based on the course content of the CBSE. Hence the students of that board naturally finds it easier to prepare for JEE, while kids from other boards need to put on extra effort to cope up with the rich content of the CBSE. This is mentally challenging and time consuming at the same time. The CBSE approach puts the academic skills upfront in its educational aims while learning beyond the school text is initiated and necessitated by the course design and testing schemes. Having understood the importance of this the state board curriculum in some states have redesigned their course contents in tune with this.
Cracking JEE may be a hard nut to crack but never impossible. Years of experience in the field have enabled few academicians to understand the crux of these competitive examinations and have designed well tested methods to unlock the exams. They are the masters of this trade and thus have sprung a bunch of private institutions to coach for JEE, to meet and mint money on the growing demand. Over the past two decade they have designed a proven road map that increases the probability of realizing the dream of entering into these elite campuses.
For instance Kota district in Rajasthan is often dubbed as the IIT city where- a legion of- the coaching institutes function with the perfection of industries aiming to produce winners clearing the exams. It is said that some of these star institutions have a secret gateway to tackle the necessity of long durations required by the preparing aspirants by having secret tie ups with some higher secondary schools- in some cases the institution itself runs these schools. The pupil will have his official enrollment in the school but however he/she would spend almost spent the entire academic year in the institute under the guidance of the subject experts- mostly elite retired professors of respective subjects- working for the coaching institutes. Thus the pupil bypasses the time consuming academic activities associated with normal school lives and thus earns a plenty of time to devote for the hard preparation for the exams. (Only very recently IIT board has included the weightage for the HSE marks score by the candidates. Indian states of Andhra and Rajasthan have mastered such tricks besides strengthening their syllabus. This reflects in the success rate of students that could obviously be observed by anyone who studies the board wise performance results from the past years.
In Tamil Nadu, higher secondary education currently holds on a syllabus that hasn’t been revised even once which is running for a decade now. Though content wise it has got less to catch up with the syllabi of its neighboring counterparts, the core ground where it lags seriously is in the testing methodology that it follows. Tamil Nadu has an educational policy of achieving full literacy and is doubtlessly marching towards it. Yet, it fails to facilitate the learners to reach out beyond the text. The testing model currently employed to test the academic performances of the learners relay more on testing the knowledge acquired rather than the applicative skills. Even knowledge based testing methods are easy to get through since they can be tackled almost exclusively by rote learning by the students. Hence these students are well informed but least equipped to apply. This is the area where students of Tamil Nadu pathetically lag way behind with the rest of the rest of their buddies nationally.
Having known this monumental flaw in the system why isn’t the state taking any step to tackle the issue? Sadly it has become a trend to associate the student performances in the board exams with the political achievements and capabilities of the ruling party in the state for years. If the exam results decline the opposition parties often dub it as a inefficiency of the ruling government. Hence the politicos have found a way out to immune them from this unwelcomed critic that is likely to occur every year. Just soften the testing methodology so that success rate is easily pursuable. Just one has to learn the tricks of the trade to get through with flying colours.
The data of board based performance in the past years have put Tamil Nadu at the bottom of the charts- 65 state board students in 2014 and just 33 in 2015 ( even this data was provided recently by an aspiring chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming assembly polls) have reportedly cracked into the IIT. Education should never be politicized and if done will have serious long term consequences in the student lives.
Change is must and Change is now!