Kota May Not Be An IIT Test Centre

"The Indian Institutes of Technology are considering dropping Kota — the coaching capital for IIT aspirants — as an admission test centre amid suspicions of mass cheating in this year’s entrance exam" reports the Telegraph

The Rajasthan town may next year not be allowed to host the IIT Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) its coaching classes have mastered, top institute officials said.

The proposal may be officially discussed as early as tomorrow when IIT directors meet to plan for the 2009 exam, sources said. The meeting of the IIT Joint Administrative Board — the highest policy-making body for the JEE — is in Kharagpur.

On an average, IIT officials estimate, over 20,000 outstation students arrive in Kota to prepare for the JEE at its 129 registered coaching classes. Most appear for the exam in Kota, which brands itself on its official website as an “education city”.

Kota’s success story in churning out IITians is not new, but a source said the trigger for the present concern was an internal report on the conduct of JEE 2008 at exam halls in that town.

A detailed analysis of this year’s JEE results showed up cases where over 20 students who appeared from the same room successfully cracked the exam, the source said. The average student strength per room was less than 40, so over half the students sitting in these rooms cleared the JEE.

In contrast, around 3,20,000 students in all sat for the exam this year and roughly 2 per cent — or one in every 50 applicants — were selected.

“The issue of scrapping Kota as a JEE centre is crucial because we at the IITs can no longer ignore the massive skew in favour of students who clear the entrance after studying at Kota. The skew is not easily explained,” an IIT director said.

Even apart from these specific “cases for concern”, Kota has an inordinately high success rate in sending students to the IITs. Almost one in every three students finally selected to the IITs is from Kota, the director said.

The town’s economy revolves around the success of its coaching classes, and barring it as a test centre is likely to significantly hurt its biggest industry, officials conceded.

The human resource development ministry has already dismissed the Rajasthan government’s proposal to set up an IIT in Kota

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