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Problems ahead for aspiring engineering students of Assam

Mr. Arjun Singh, HRD minister, Government of India, craves for the credit in reservation issue. But he has de-reserved, without consultation with the states, a part of the seats in the Regional Engineering Colleges now called National Institute of Technology.The removal of the word 'regional' may suggest the ascendancy of the centralising mind set in the federal india.

The all-India level examination known as AIEEE is conducted by the CBSE. The results were out by the 6th of June. The process called consultation with the students are to start today i.e. 16 June. At the eleventh hour, on 9 June 2008, Mr Arjun Singh issued a circular that threatens to reduce the number of students getting into these 'national' institutes from the north east leading to a widening of the gap in national average and the region's average in the opportunity to get technical education per lakh person.

In Silchar, Assam has the sole NIT. There are 460 seats. Out of that 230 seats are for the students of the state, who have qualified in AIEEE, in order of merit. The rest 230 seats are up for exchange with the seats of the NITs in other Union Territories and States. So, the first category is kind of reserved and second category too is reserved in the sense that it opens a vista for the students of the state to get into NITs in other states offering choice subjects for them.

Now the circular puts an end to the second category reservation. From this year, the second category shall not be the exchange domain of the state's students. Those seats will be filled up from the All-India merit list. As the students of the states like Assam are dispersed away from the higher ranks, and the students from UP/Bihar/Delhi approproate the higher positions, naturally 230 seats of Silchar NIT will now be filled up by students from these states without Assam's earlier entitlement to exchange those seats for her students in other NITs.

Difference of a single mark may mean diffrence of a postion by few thousand in the all India merit list. Assam's students do not stand a chance in this fierce competition. That the CBSE conducts the examination makes it difficult for students under the State's Higher Secondary Council. To add to the woes, some of the institutions from Assam are allowing students from affluent Delhi and other advanced areas to take admission few months before the final examinations for a price, and by dint of that even these students are considered domiciles of Assam. These students are making a dent into the prospects of the state's students getting even the 230 seats that are still reserved for the state.

This last minute circular from HRD ministry was without consultation with the State Governments. It is contrary to the Minister's own finding and assurance in 2006 that he's duty bound to lift Assam to the national average in terms of opportunity for her aspiring students getting into technical institutes.

But in the global context, should we say 'let the fittest survive'.

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UttamKumarBorthakur's picture

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Prashanta Goswami's picture

Very appropriate and Congratulations. But is anyone listening ? Arjun Singh is the person responsible for reservations and he is now bent on deserving already reserved seats isn't that double standards ?
Barnam Bora's picture

To all my fellow readers, I had qualified for a seat in NIT Jallandhar last year (2007) through AIEEE. As a matter of fact I had spent three months over there doing my first semester, before I decided to accept the offer from The University of Adelaide, South Australia. And I would like to testify on behalf of all the aspiring and continuing engineering students of Assam that, we are indeed decades behind the other mostly north Indian states in terms of the level of facilities and the level of training provide to the students appearing for the IIT-JEE and AIEEE. It is a sorry sight but it is the bare unadultrated truth that even though our students are second to none in terms of their performance in the Boards exams, they are somehow left gasping for breath when it comes to national level engineering entrance exams in particular and all other competitive exams in general. Today as we all know, the majority of the national level seats on offer are gobbled up mostly by the states of Bihar/UP/Delhi/Aandhra Pradesh/Rajasthan. And there should be no doubt in the minds of my readers that the reason for this heavily biased success ratio is not that the students of all the other states in general and Assam in particular are "DUMB" compared to the students of the above mentioned states but it is just that our students are grossly disadvantaged in terms of the kind of guidance that need to be provided so as to give them a good enough chance to even attempt any of these competitive exams. Take for example the city of Kota in Rajasthan. It is clogged with oodles of specialised coaching institutes grilling their students in the requisite methods for success, repeatedly and without any respite. This is not just a welfare oriented measure which is a toy of their government. Instead it is a very high yielding business which is the Brainchild of a few very smart venture capitalists who have absolutely no concern about welfare. The success that their students are getting is only a bonus. Infact it can be said that as of today, there are only 2 things you need, in order to get into a top engineering institute ie. IIT or NIT, firstly, enough money to pay for ur coaching fee in an institute in Kota and about 10% of the self initiated resilience required by any other successful candidate who is not enrolled in such an institute. Thus it is obvious that it is money which is buying you extra brownie points. This particular move by the HRD minister is arguably very abrupt and uncalled for. And I daresay the direct and most significant beneficiary of this decision will definitely be the Coaching cenres in the earlier mentioned states. Why I say this is because, removing the state reservation in all NITs is a move that further demoralises the aspiring students of the disadvantaged states and this would directly prompt them and their parents/guardians to follow the only thread of hope which I'm afraid to say is "KOTA". Hence I would even go to the extent of saying that this particular decision may as well be based on a large amount of hidden agendas which might not be very welfare oriented. But, we the people of Assam are famous for turning the tide, so it is high time every Assamese IIT/NIT aspirant buckes up coz trust me, this is a challenge that has already been accepted and what has been accepted needs to be achieved. It is also crunch time for venture capitalists in Assam to gear up and do business of the "EDUCATIVE" kind and tell the world that "WE SHALL OVERCOME..." Untill next time Cheers Barnam The University of Adelaide South Australia

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