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Most Needed Changes based on the experiences of Chairman CSAB 2013, Prof. Sunil Kr Sarangi
“Mired in the counselling controversies for JEE Main 2013 starting from the coding errors to the seat allocations, Prof Saranghi has faced the harsh reactions of the students and their parents during his tenure. Careers360 had been with the students on the JEE Main 2013 controversies and had even written an open letter to him regarding the same.
In a candid telephonic chat with Prof.Sarangi, we at Careers360 asked him about what went wrong in CSAB 2013, lessons learnt and what could be done differently to ease the student’s experience for JEE Main 2014. Here are the excerpts:Q. Sir, you were the Chairman for the CSAB 2013 which conducted the JEE Main 2013 Counselling. How was the process different from 2012? There were so many errors in 2013 that the system of 2012 seemed better.Ans: No. Not errors. I wouldn’t call them that. The allocations were misunderstood. The truth is the reverse. It’s a matter of concepts. We used local sliding in 2012 which was restricted to local institutes and the seat allocation therein in four rounds of counselling. It was not a transparent process.
2013 was entirely different. We had to use Global Sliding since it was now a matter of all institutes across the Country that was participating in the exam. Board marks were used as parameters for the ranks and there were only two rounds of counselling.Q: Last year was tumultuous for the students with so many mistakes, blunders. Why is it that the CBSE, Mr.Kapil Sibal and everyone involved pushed the reforms through? Some more time may have been better?Ans: No. It has been in the pipeline since two years. There is never any good time to start or anything like that. Mr. Sibal was bold enough to push through the reforms with the support of all those academicians who are unhappy with the state of education in the country. Parents and students should realize that 12 years of study is of paramount importance than a mere entrance exam. How can one ignore the board exams?
It is a bad mind set of the students, parents that the entrance holds a stronger position than the actual board marks. The Board exams are testers of the base of the student while the entrance is just what it is –an entrance. Coaching centres have become powerful and today a school teacher is not revered for the teaching. Schools are just means and not learning centres. And that is the sad state of affairs.
I am convinced that this is the right path. We need to get the education system on track.Q. Sir, the JEE 2013 Information Brochure itself was changed around 8 times. Many errors were made. Apologies were published every time. Students who lost out can’t be compensated. I can state instances like
July 13, 2013- 25 students lost their seats due to a computer error and they were blamed for their choice filling.
The second allotment came in with errors and anomalies
July 18, 2013 saw one lakh students erroneously allotted seats in the Mechanical branch of NIT Patna.
July 18, 2013 again there was no upgradation of the status of 135 students who had been rejected due to their documents not being in order.
What are the reasons for these? How will students be compensated?Ans. Like I mentioned we were unaware of the process being implemented till May 2013. The information brochure and all were prepared in the nick of time.. We not only had to devise the system but implement it while conducting the counselling. There are so many things that were involved.
One, we were doing this for all institutes inclusive of the Govt ones, private ones, branch wise keeping the quotas (home and all India) in mind. Like I explained earlier, it was a huge task with huge constraints of resources, time, effort, etc. Counselling rounds were halved as compared to the previous years. Everything was completely new and so new logic, guidelines had to be devised in the nick of time to put the system in place.
Errors cropped up due to the system. We were working with CDAC who were putting a system with little experience with such huge number of students. Their experience with the IITs was miniscule compared to JEE Main 2013 and it lead to a lot of errors like coding etc. The system allots what it is programmed to. So in essence, if system is not in place, it will not work.
The clear agenda in all this was to ensure there was no merit violation and yes, it took changes, apologies too. So be it but at least we have ensured that Merit violation was avoided. I agree that it was harsh but totally unavoidable.Q. Normally NIC does the website work. Why was CDAC preferred? Where did they go wrong considering that they handle the admissions for the IITs?Ans. Soon after we were given this mammoth task, we approached NIC and they refused considering the time frame and modalities involved. On the suggestions of the IITs, we asked CDAC and they stepped in stating that they would do the job. We had no other go. There wasn’t anyone else to do it.
Where it went wrong was that CDAC was used to IIT admissions which deals with a maximum of 20,000 of students for counselling even if 1.5 lakhs are shortlisted for appearing for the exam. Here for JEE Main 2013, it was a case of 8 lakhs to be precise.
Moreover, the fine tuning and testing required for such a huge system to work seamlessly and error free was not properly done. Factors like the home quotas and category seats in addition to the all India seats were to be taken care of. Counselling was for both B.Tech and Architecture.
The bottom line is that if the program goes wrong, so does everything else.Q. Anomalies existed in cases of students who were allowed upgradation only if they had taken admissions.Ans. True. We should have envisaged and prepared for it but...
Meritorious students who had filled in choices of top branches and institutes but were not allotted seats in the first round could not upgrade as upgradation was only for students who had taken admission. This was a grave injustice and we did not envisage it. It had been followed since many years and we followed the same system but injustice was done to meritorious students. Till 2013, nobody pointed it out so it went on for years together.
Once we came to know of it, we tried to rectify it. We retracted the admissions and tried to make amends. Retractions of this sort always are harsh on students. As such, many students got affected in the process and yes it’s a tough thing to take when they have gone for admissions and discovered that it was retracted. But we couldn’t t help it. Merit violation could not be allowed and the larger picture mattered more.
What I can assure students is that it is taken care of now. We will ensure such an indiscrimination will not take place again.Q: What was the role of CSAB in the allotment? I know that many are not aware of it. Kindly explain.Ans. CSAB is the administrator for allotments. CDAC programmes the data, information given but CSAB oversee the implementation of it all as per regulations with an eye on avoiding merit violation. The principles that are used for allotment branch wise, home quotas, public institutions, private institutions, some institutions only take boys like for eg mining courses are only for boys – so many things have to be formulated. They have to systemized and then checking to be done. CSAB is the one who does all this. It is a complex process and CDAC can only set up a system on our guidelines. The logic and guidelines that have to be used for allotments, the money part- it was online – all of it has to be put into a system to be created by us.Q. The normalization process was the most widely talked about thing. There were many problems due to it. According to you- would it be better if the normalization was done by one body to ensure uniformity and do away with different interpretations and mistakes?Ans: I am not personally involved in this normalization. It is done by CBSE. They should get the raw data from the boards which they convert into ranks and pass onto us. We at CSAB are not bothered with the marks and all. My concern is to allot a seat based on the rank supplied by the CBSE.
But yes there have been some mistakes that were committed but I think mostly the CBSE has done a good job even with different boards and so many variations.Q. Careers360 recently conducted a survey to find out the opinions of students regarding normalization. 6367 plus students have already voted and 33% feel that it is good, 46% feel it is discriminatory and 20% are unsure. What is your take on the normalization system?Ans: The entrance is perceived as an act of GOD. It has been there since ages now. We have learnt to ignore the board marks which are the honest and true indicators of merit. The breakdown of the education system can be squarely put on the entrance exam. A child is taught that his study in say Class 8 to 12 does not matter. Is that truly so?
The inclusion of the board marks is something appreciated in the higher education circles and we know it is for the good of the students. I really admire Mr Kapil Sibal for taking this bold step. The students feel that the boards are not to be trusted but IITs and NITs are revered and the entrance conducted by them must be very honest and trustworthy. So the boards must be ignored. There is no respect for the board and the state boards have been sunk to a new low. There is no respect for the system that actually nurtures your child but a single entrance exam is revered.
Our biggest problem is this and that has to be eradicated. A colossal task but very necessary. The boards have to be propagated and it has to be ensured that they are given their right place. That way even the teachers will have to actually teach the students and students will actually learn.Q. There has been discrepancy and some say preference to some boards. What is your take on it?Ans. I don’t truly think so. But there are a few factors that do play a role in these things. The first case was filed in Andhra Pradesh against normalization. Let me give you the statistics. AP forms 7% of the nation’s population. NIT had 13% admissions from AP in 2012 while it went up to 16% in 2013. Now explain whether there has been discrimination?
Four states contribute the maximum students- UP, Bihar, AP, and Rajasthan. They contribute a large proportion of students because the mind set in these states is for education and there is a higher value to education comparatively. This is my opinion.
The system was devised that we have to ensure merit is rewarded. But what is merit and how can it be measured? So we worked out a compromise where we put the JEE Marks at 60% to the Board Marks at 40%. So students who value education work towards it and reap the rewards.Q. NITs and IITs – admission agreement. One of the well thought plans and it was withdrawn in the last place.Ans. Yes. It was to ensure that students do not take admissions in both in different branches just in case while depriving some other student of a seat. Many people think IITs are autonomous. Well they are not. How else do you explain that they work within the Govt regulations, are dependent on Govt funding? Like the caste reservations. It is a national policy and is implemented in IITs.
The agreement failed in July. It was decided in the last minute not to go ahead and it was not in our hands.
Click here to see the details of the seat sharing information between NITS and IITs that was proposed and cancelled later.Q. 50 plus cases Sir against JEE in 2013. What went through your mind when one by one these were filed in and how do you think these could have been addressed? Could it have been avoided?Ans. Most of the cases were against CBSE. The cases against CSAB were few and have been cleared. Most of them were based on misunderstandings, wrong interpretation and such.Q. Refund is becoming an issue with a lot of students still not having it back. There are some students who have called and mailed but no response. What do they do now? Ans. The problem lies with the payment mode allowed. We received the maximum amount of drafts showing how poor the trust of people is in net banking and online payments. The banks here refused to clear more than 500 drafts per day. That is their capacity. We pleaded and got it up to 700 per day.
Now coming to the money that has to be refunded – many have given wrong account numbers. We have given a notification to that effect. The ones we cannot place- we are sifting through the applications of the candidates and yes, every single paise will be returned. It will take time though as I mentioned above for us to place the DDs to the applications.Q. Who will take the responsibility of the CSAB 2014? Will CDAC be still handle JEE Main 2014Ans. Each institute is allowed to take charge for a year. It’s not our responsibility anymore. NIT Jaipur will constitute CSAB 2014. They will come for a meeting next week to discuss with us about our experiences and the processes involved.
I wouldn’t know whether CDAC or someone else will. Since NIT Jaipur will be handling it this year, it is up to them. Here I would like to point out a few things- they handle the GATE counselling every year and have been doing that extremely well. Moreover they have around six months to implement and test the system. Students can rest assured that there will be no problems at least those that occurred last time.
To sum up - What I want to tell all the students are that JEE Main 2014 will be better. The common entrance and normalization have been formulated with an intention of putting education in front rather than any entrance exam. Few years down the lane, I hope we can see students giving importance to the years of hard work and learning they have put in rather than a mad rush for an entrance exam like the JEE.Some Checklist Areas for the CSAB 2014:
NO Coding Errors - All state codes and names must be as per the Govt regulations.
NO Computer Glitches – The system should be able to handle more than 8 lakh students (2013 figures)
Removal of Upgradation anomalies
NO Random Allotments as in 2013 ( a lakh students got allotted seats in the Mechanical branch of an institute)
Professor Sunil Kumar Sarangi holds a B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from IIT, Kharagpur and a Ph.D. from State University of New York, Stony Brook. He had been teaching Cryogenic Engineering at IIT, Kharagpur since 1977 before taking over as Director of N.I. T., Rourkela in 2003 where he is serving his third term as director. He is also a fellow of the National Academy of Engineering. The year 2013 saw him in the capacity of Chairman to the CSAB for JEE Main.
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Dear Afsal, you haven't mentioned your State and Category. This is important because the opening and closing ranks for Home State Candidates and Other State Candidates are different. Please do let us know these details and we shall let you know relevant information.
Meanwhile, Your rank can be predicted by using the formula, (100-your total percentile)*869010/100. In your case, your approximate rank would be 61178 . Let's say the number of candidates for April exam increased to 12,00,000 then your final rank shall be (100 - your total score) X 12,00,000/100.
With this percentile though you qualify for JEE Advanced, you may have to appear for April session for any chances in NIT if you belong to General Category. Now to predict colleges, please use our college predictor:
To calculate your rank with the help of your percentile, we should use the formula:(100-your total percentile)*869010/100. Now this is for January session. If the no.of Candidates appearing for JEE Mains April session is increased to 12,00,000 then your final rank is calculated using the formula: (100 - your total score) X 12,00,000/100. To predict the colleges for this rank, visit our college predictor link available at:
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Jee main is held twice a year in January and in April .
In December there is no Jee mains .As in January it helds around 6 January and there are total of 8 shifts in which paper 1 for btech and paper 2 for b.arch also held .
The form for April attempt will release from 7 Feb and admit card will be available on 16 march.
So you can prepare for April attempt also.
But if you want to prepare for Jee mains 2021 in January then you have time for proper preparation and you can do strategic planning for that.
If you want to know more about Jee mains then you can visit the link mentioned below
All the very best
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