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Govt sets up panel to look at making AIEEE an online test

The Government today set up a committee consisting of the directors of three of the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) to look at, among other things, the possibility of making the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) an online examination in addition to the regular pen and paper test.

The AIEEE, conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), is the entrance test for admission to the engineering and architecture degree courses in the 20 NITs and hundreds of other engineering colleges across the country.

An official press release said the committee would also look into the structure of the entrance examination and determine whether weightage could be given to the Class XII examination results. It said the directors of the NITs were of the view that the proliferation of coaching institutes, which prepare students for such entrance examinations, was skewing the pattern of entrants into the NITs.

The committee, consisting of the Directors of the NITs at Allahabad, Kozhikode and Agartala, will submit its report by January, the release said.

The panel will also look at the problem of many seats in NITs remaining vacant despite several rounds of counselling. They will examine whether certain courses are not "market-friendly" and therefore not attracting students. The committee could then recommend alternate courses.

The decision to set up the committee was taken at the first meeting of the NITs Council held here today under the chairmanship of Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal.

The meeting also decided to set up a committee to look into the curriculum framework, keeping in view the current and future needs of the country, industry and the market.

The committee, consisting of the directors of the NITs at Tiruchirapalli, Suratkal and Warangal, will also interact with industry organisations to find out their requirements so that the students have the best job prospects.

Mr Sibal asked the NITs to draft their vision statements which would be discussed at the next meeting of the council. The statements should show how the NITs could expand and build their brand image to attract talent from within the country and abroad. He asked them to indicate if they would like to set up campuses abroad.

The Minister said the council would meet every six months. He said that there would be growing demand for professional courses, given the high growth in the country and the booming middle class. He urged the NITs to pay more attention to research and doctoral as well as post-doctoral programmes.

According to the release the Minister agreed to the NITs' request that, in the hiring of faculty, in exceptional circumstances, individuals could be hired at a higher grade of pay with the approval of the Board of the Governors of the NITs. He said norms would have to be formulated by the NITs on when such exceptions could be made.

The council unanimously approved the setting up of a standing committee to go into the details of various proposals and suggestions received.

Mr R P Agrawal, Secretary, Higher Education, said all NITs would be provided with one Gbps of connectivity shortly. He also said that the Performance Related Incentive System (PRIS) would be applicable in the NITs.

NNN

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