Hamstrung by the lack of qualified candidates to fill up the mandatory quota seats, the Indian Institutes of Technology have not only lowered the cut-offs for the reserved category students but also restarted the year-long preparatory courses. But not all campuses will run these courses. This year, the IITs have decided to take turns to run the bridge programme.
For the first time, some of the IITs have outsourced the preparatory course to their counterparts in other tech schools. For instance, IIT-Roorkee is holding these classes for not just their students but also those of IIT-Delhi and IIT-Mandi. IIT-Madras is conducting ‘prep classes’ as they are known, for its candidates and those of IIT-Bombay, IIT-Hyderabad and IIT-Gandhinagar. Apart from running the course for its candidates, IIT-Kharagpur is also training students of IIT-Patna and IIT-Bhubaneshwar.
Preparatory courses are special coaching classes for reserved category students who fail to make the grade despite a substantial lowering of the cut-off marks. These students are taken in when there are not enough candidates to fill up the quota seats.
This year, 276 physically disadvantaged candidates and 200 scheduled tribe students will undergo the preparatory course.
“There are very few students undergoing the preparatory programme this year. While it goes on to show that applicants are more prepared, we also felt that makes sense to share the work-load and bunch students instead of running the programme for a handful of students on every campus,” said IIT-Bombay director Devang Khakhar.
Sources said the idea came up when the new IITs complained of faculty and space shortage for holding these extra classes. “Later, when the older IITs decided to shoulder the responsibility, some felt that candidates could be grouped and there is better utilization of resources,” he said.
For quota students who fall short of the mark, the IITs generously reduce cut-offs and conduct special coaching for them for a year.
The arrangement started in the mid-90s after the IITs wrote to the government for permission to run a programme to help quota students lagging behind in the JEE race. But the same was discontinued two years ago.
Each year, the IITs provide concessions to quota students. They lower entry levels for them, going as slow as 50% below the last general category student’s marks to do justice to the quota. But to reach the colleges’ full capacity, scores are relaxed once again and students are selected to be coached in maths, physics and chemistry for a year before they can join the IITs after clearing an internal test. “After successful completion of preparatory programme, you must join the institute where you have been allotted a seat originally,” reads a notice by the IITs to the candidates.