100 meter freestyle swimming to be the way forward : IITJEE Pattern changes from 2017

Imagine Freestyle swimming as the way to select IITJEE topper. The innovative way found by the exam committee to kill the coaching industry by 2017! 🙂 🙂

The IITJEE format change is again a hot topic. Journalist friends and writers are calling up to seek my view. Most will pass of most of the conversation as their personal insight. Will put the inevitable “industry sources who did not want to be named” in half a dozen places. Will attribute whatever they want to attribute to you. And the life moves on. But, the education system will remain the same.

This is just to capture some key points on the subject so that my views are known to one and all with no intermediaries to deal with.

1. It is all about demand and supply, stupid :
How the heck does it matter when the exam pattern is changed ever so subtly in a country of a billion ? Why don’t these idiots get it ? Or they do get it but it suits them to act stupid. Each time that they change the pattern of any exam in the country, their favourite “go to town” story is that they are blunting the coaching guys’ diabolical hold over the kids. When would they stop kidding themselves ?

When they introduced weightage to the board marks, they said that it was to blunt the coaching industry. Now they remove the same and introduce something else, the reason remains the same. My theory is simple – you could replace all the current methods and introduce a 100 metre sprint or a 400 m freestyle swimming as a way of entrance into an IIT or an IIM…..would that change the scenario ?

As long as there are only 100 seats in the computer science dept at IIT-Mumbai and there are 15lakh students dreaming about it, the competition cannot be wished away. Coaching is just an enabler in the process.

2. Focus on fundamentals and seek inputs from coaching industry
The policy making is a bit of a joke. The entrance exams are treated as an appendix to the entire education process. There is no dedicated organisation that is continuously researching and developing the science of testing the candidates. It is an ad hoc committee that comes and does a hash of the whoLe thing and goes away. Can it not emulate GMAC for each of the prestigious school intake processes. Law exam paper is full of errors. A private B-school reproduces an entire section from a mock exam of CL. The longer you would look at it, the most depressed you will get. And these guys have the gall to talk!

Focus on Aptitude. nothing else :
Why does any one need to have anything more than the aptitude for that field at the entry stage ? Focus on science aptitude for IIT or medicine. Focus on logical and legal aptitude for law. Focus on management aptitude for MBA and so on. That is the best way to blunt the ill-effect of the coaching industry, if at all these guys are keen to do that.

Establish dialogues with testprep players :
Go and visit some of the top universities globally including Stanford and so on. There is a healthy presence of all the testprep material and courses in one section of the library for the benefit of students. Can you imagine our holy educational Imams and Shankaracharyas do that ? ISB, Hyderabad and Jindal Law school are the two exceptional case studies of building a brand in India and I would attribute their success to a lot of dialogues and brand building relationships with testprep players in a fair and professional way. Most others try short cuts. The government institutions are too lazy and lack ownership to do anything.

Big Data about the million aspirants :
The fact of the matter is that the big data and the detailed analytics of each aspirant is with me as a coaching guy to the millionth detail about each of the students who walks our corridor. I can tell the strengths and weaknesses of a students at a topic, sub-topic and question level with an accuracy that is possible only through super-science of data and statistical modelling. We predict the percentile to the accuracy of second decimals before the results are out. But, do they care !!!

A B school or a T school would be smart to work closely with coaching guys to improve their processes. Forget that! They think it is an infra-dig to engage except for the newer and younger leaders who are coming through now.

3. Provide the level playing field to the poor students :
Many state governments and even not for profit organisations are progressive enough to design schemes to help and support the lowest socio-economic segments of the society. TN, North East council, Delhi. Kerala are just a few examples of states supporting students to prepare for IAS, IIT, Medicine, etc., and are also bringing in the expertise of coaching companies to deliver the programs. That is the direction to go and ensure that the best of talent from the country finds its way to the top institutions.

I sincerely hope that sanity and progressive mindset prevails in the room when the policy makers sit down and take the final view on the IITJEE pattern once again!


"Hope this does not bore you to death. This is my effort to stay relevant by honing a skill or two with respect to the webworld" - Satya

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