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Sunday, February 26, 2012

RIP IITJEE......But what next?

Everyone I meet, (by everyone I mean IITians of course) are mourning. They are mourning the end of their precious IITJEE. They mourned when the pattern was changed from subjective to objective. They mourned when the standard of the objective examination fell below that of AIEEE. Now they are mourning the end of that very thing altogether. Yes, unsurprisingly I am one of them. But this post is not another nostalgic bout about those JEE days, nor it is how the politicians erred in scrapping JEE. This post is about what to do next, now that the ultimate sieve which selected the best and the brightest, pushed them to such intellectual limits has been done away with.

Is it going to be any good now that students who excel in their board examinations through sheer hard work and rote learning, will come to join these premier Institutes of India. Let us analyze that first. Some of the people think the hard earned reputation of the IIT alumni that ropes in hundreds of companies during the first few weeks of placement will take a hit. The placements will take a hit because the companies won't want these "substandard" student. This argument has no merit whatsoever because firstly, there are hardly any job these companies offer that require above average intellect. Anybody who has passed higher secondary can be trained to do these jobs. In fact all IITians who join these companies regularly complain about how mundane the jobs are, how anybody can do them and how bored they wanted to have more challenging jobs. So if anybody can do them they why not the future batch of students. One thing, I think everybody agrees on is that whoever comes out of the new system will possess one particular attribute. He/She will be hardworking. And that is all you need to be successful in the company you join. Secondly, most of the IITians leave their first job after four-five years for greener pasture. Because, if you are good enough, and IITians in general are, then there will always be another company willing to hire you for a better salary. But if the new batch students aren't that good, then they won't have another company waiting for them. So they will stick to their old jobs, which the companies recruiting from IITs will actually prefer. They don't want their training to go down the drain when the employee leaves them for a better package. They want to suck every last bit the employee can offer. Therefore the placements won't suffer. In fact these days companies who are suddenly preferring M.Techs to B.Techs at IITs because undergraduates simply don't stay put, will be back hiring the undergraduates by hordes.
The other issue that concerns the IIT alumni is that the quality of research will fall. By research they mean post graduate research. Ans since all of the IITians who are inclined towards research leave India for foreign Universities, even if the quality of research suffers, it would not affect India. Obviously the charm that the IIT degree exudes to the foreign universities will fade with time if the quality of students coming out of IIT falls, but ideally that should not affect the students individually. If you are good enough you can do it from an ordinary Indian Institution. You don't need the push that the IIT Degree gives you. To be established among the best and the brightest one needs to pass through a rigorous examination, If it is not JEE then it will be the one after your graduation when these elite foreign universities will examine all aspects of your life- your projects, your grades, your GRE score, etc because the weightage given to the IIT degree would not be given any more.

Overall I think the system will self-heal. Those who are concerned that the students who are actually skilled in analysis and problem solving won't get into IITs can be rest assured. They will find a way to get in. You ask how can I be sure? I can be sure of it because most of my fellow IIT students that I have met have been school toppers. And personally, I have the confidence of clearing any exam in the world given six months of solid hard work. So I believe the deserving students will find a way to clear the board examinations with distinctions. I won't be surprised if the top marks in the various board examinations climbs a few notch or two because of the competition it is attracting.

So relax guys. Let our juniors enjoy a better college life because one thing is sure to happen. The abysmal sex ratio at IITs is going to change overnight. And after all is said and done, life is supposed to be fun. Its sure going to be more fun for the juniors in this aspect. If they don't discuss the fine nuances of chaos, fractals and relativistic mechanics, so what? As long as the company remains uniform, (uniformly dull or uniformly bright) it is not going to matter.

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