Hemali Chhapia, TNN, May 27, 2010, 03.22am IST
MUMBAI: In 1993-94, the IITs wrote to the government for permission to run a year-long preparatory course, a feeder class to train quota students for a year to equip them to clear the JEE. That was when quota seats went abegging. Now, things have come full circle and probably for the first time this year, the tech schools have declared there would be no preparatory course for Scheduled Caste candidates, as more students have qualified than seats available.
Popularly termed "prepies" on campus, the students did not make the mark forcing the IITs to generously reduce cut-offs and put them through special coaching. "But over the years, enough SC students have done well and qualified for the IITs. It is probably the first time that we don't need to conduct a preparatory course for them," said IIT-Madras director M S Ananth.
According to information provided by IIT-Madras, which organised the JEE-2010, 1,773 SC candidates qualified across the country, against the 1,426 seats reserved for them across the 15 IITs. In 2009, merely 967 SC students qualified, compelling the IITs to put 473 candidates through the preparatory programme to fill the remaining seats (see box). "All those who qualify from the 2009 batch will also be admitted. The class size in most IITs may go up, but that is the way the preparatory system scheme works," explained T S Natarajan, JEE 2010 chairman. Stating that parents were getting more conscious of "social factors like education", Natarajan observed that the number of quota students requiring a relaxation in scores too was falling. This year, of the SC students who qualified, 120 did not even require a handicap.
This is how the IITs select a quota student: Let's assume the last general category student is admitted with an overall score of 100 (out of 480), and the aggregate cut-off for an SC/ST student would be 50 (after a 50% relaxation). To select students for the preparatory course, the IITs will further lower the qualifying score by another 50% (25 marks).
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Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University
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