Archive for June, 2008

Rohith broke the news of NITs lifting off the “state based” reservations. Now each NIT shall reserve only 50% of the seats for the local candidates and the rest of the seats would be free for all. This was reported in the Hindu and the circular from the HRD ministry can also be found here. I still remember as a bright Engineering aspirant going through the prospectus and getting disheartened on seeing that there would only be one seat in NIT trichy for CSE or NIT Surathkal for Electronics [Not that i would get it with my rank] and that it was reserved. I always felt that it was gross injustice to candidates with good ranks not being able to join “better” colleges. The previous system was flawed because it gave preference to state ranks rather than national ranks due to the geographical reservation. So there were cases in which a guy from AP with a better rank couldnt get in to NIT trichy but a guy from Assam with a lower national rank than the former could easily get in. [The reference to both the states is not intentional.]

But on the other hand it surely does affect the propects of students from not so well performing states. Students in states which have “corporatized” education like Andhra Pradesh [This is intentional] and Rajasthan [Kota] would be surely jumping with joy. Compare this scenario , A student from Kerala with a  national rank of 99000  has a state rank of  6000 while a student from AP with a national rank of 48800 has a state rank of 7700. The very intention of this ruling was to put all the students on the same ground as AIEEE was technically a purely merit examination but practically the geographical reservations foresaked the merit for their nativity.

Secondly this ruling will also have implications on the institutes both academically and socially. The top tier NITs – Trichy, Surathkal, Warangal to name a few, would definitely have a better talent pool than the lower tier NITs. I aint saying that their standard would increase or their standard would decrease – as I think that marginalizing “standards” on students ranks or their castes is pure bullshit. A lot of other factors come into play. But another grave consequence of this would be losing the diversity in the composition of a batch. With 50% locals and 50% others deemed to be from all the other states, the batch would definitely be more vibrant. But under the new law, there can be case that 80% of the non local seats can be filled by candidates from a single state.

A point in the case here is NIT Warangal. Before coming under the AIEEE scanner, the admission were sought under the “prestigious” EAMCET and only a few seats were offered under non local category. But now 50% of the seats would be filled by Andhra-ites. There is a possibility that the most of the other non local seats will be filled by Andhra-ites too [The circular clearly says that the 50% seats would be filled on All India Merit Basis]- Thus reverting it back to the old days.

So the ruling would surely help meritorious students but is it justified with merit being so unevenly distributed across the country – Its debatable and I prefer leaving it to the honchos of bureaucracy and academicians to fight it out.

Finally coming to the title of blog – Where do we stand ?.

IITs have increases in number, BITs Hyderabad is coming up, NITs have done off with reservations – What is gonna happen to IIIT ? The opening rank last year was 256 and the closing rank was 2636. You can find the information here. During our year the opening rank was around 120 [Kirthi Krishna] and the closing rank was around 2300. Opening ranks dont carry much significance since it opinions of students vary – I still remember kirthi joined IIIT because he wanted to do ECE and his rank in IIT wouldnt fetch him that. However the closing ranks do indicate the trend. With more seats in offering from IITs, BITS and NITs will students still flock to IIIT ? Surely people who dont find the course of their choice will but a majority of them would definitely go there. You might argue that our CSE is on par with IIT, NITs are no competition etc but try arguing with a parent and an aspirant who has for the first time heard about IIIT. What comes in to play here is the brand image. Does IIIT have that brand image that it can beat the others and still maintain its position. I still expect the closing rank to go beyond 3000.

I fondly remember going through the brochure of IIIT and joining it solely on the basis of the last 3 pages – Which read “Placements”. There were many others in our batch and there are several in IIIT who have done the same thing. The institute prides itself in saying that its one-of-a-kind reseach institute. Whats debatable is the stark difference between the view of the management and the view of the candidates joining the institute who still see it as an 6lpa-awarding-degree machine. Now what lays in front of Dr. Sangal is a humongous task of building a brand as unique as IITs and BITS. Yeah surely they have been around for 40 years how can you compare us with them. I aint. When they were budding there were the only ones and there was far too little competition but now its a battleground out there. Anothe issue is the exorbitant fees. IITs, NITs and BITS charge exactly half – The argument – Hey they are funded – A parent doesnt give a damn about it. He isnt doing any charity paying the fees. We are not competing against IIT, but the candidates and parents do pit us one against another.

What I intend to say is that we might be at a loss of talent pool – A thing that we cant afford to lose at this junction.

But one has to see it, to believe it.  After being to 5 IITs, 2 BITS and a NIT – What I have noticed is that we are different. And mind you they too are different in their own ways. Each institute has its own identity – we are trying carve one for ourselves.

On another note you must be knowing about the AP IIIT thing running in our college. They recruit students from rural areas and provide them IT education. Though they bear the IIIT tag they dont have any relationship with us whatsoever. But lately reports have been surfacing in local papers and news channels that meritorious students have been refused admission in to IIIT. The heading read “IIIT refuses entry to a meritorious student” [Translated from telugu though]. People say that kamal reads this blog – If this is true just take care of it.

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Just received a mail from Dr. Rajeev Sangal.

Dear students in the graduating batch,

It is a gentle reminder about the forthcoming Jeevan Vidya shivir at IIIT Hyderabad during June 22 – 29, 2008.

At the farewell FSIS with the graduating UG4 students, it was expressed by many students that they would like to attend JV shivir, provided it is held during times when there is no or less work pressure. I urge them to avail of such an opportunity now.

Passing out students of MTech and other programmes should also take advantage of the shivir and attend.
If you wish to bring your parents, you are welcome.
But register early, as the number of seats are limited.
= Rajeev Sangal

Ok now who were the students who were *interested* in this JV shivir [ I am already rolling my sleeves]

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