The IITs, once the preserve of the educated elite in the metros, are witnessing a significant class shift.
As 1.7 lakh bright high school graduates take the IIT JEE (Advanced) on Sunday , data reveals that an almost identical number of open category and OBC candidates have qualified to take this final exam to enter the IITs.
Among aspirants from state boards, the ratio is, in fact, skewed in favour of back ward candidates as against the ones from the general quota. However, the qualifying score for backward candidates is 49 while for open category students it is 81.
In Maharashtra state bo ard, while 4,394 from the general category have made the cut, 7,460 from the OBC category and 4,619 SC candidates will appear for the JEE (Advanced) test. Similar is the case with Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh where a larger chunk of OBCs and the SCs have qualified for the IIT test through their school boards.
Even in case of the Gujarat, Telangana, Andhra, Karnataka, Kerala and West Bengal state boards, a larger number of OBC students is competing for IIT seats vis-àvis those from the open category .
“The make-up of candidates taking the JEE this year has altered,“ said a JEE chairman. Historically , CBSE schools have had the largest share of IIT seats, but the trend is changing. In 2012, 57% of candidates admitted were from CBSE, but by 2014, it had dropped to 42%. IITs, which were dominated by candidates from large urban centres and CBSEaffiliated institutions, are now beginning to see higher representation from state boards around the country .
This year, 64,000 of JEE (Adv) candidates are from the non-creamy layer of OBC and 69,000 from the general category. What that will translate to, said a JEE official, would be that several OBCs would qualify under the general category and not exercise their right to take a quota seat.
“Quite a few general category students of the 2.2 lakh who qualified after the JEE (Main) have dropped out and that may also be responsible in narrowing the (gap between) the number of OBC and general category students,“ said an IIT director.
As an individual board, CBSE dominated the merit list of JEE (Main) exams for qualifying to the next level. Then came state boards like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra which also occupy a thick slice of the pie.
“Several state board schools and junior colleges are realizing the importance of tests like JEE and NEET and opting for an integrated approach where students are trained for entrance tests in their junior colleges,“ said Ruia College principal Suhas Pednekar.
“Across Andhraand Telangana, we work with 160 schools where we train state board students for various entrance tests,“ said Srinath V , administrative head of Narayana Coaching Classes.
Praveen Tyagi, chairman, Pace Junior Science Colleges said, “We too work with several schools, besides our own junior colleges where we train state board students. Many come from interior Maharashtra to the city for the two years of their preparation.“