Friday, December 3, 2010

After CAT, now AIEEE goes online

              now AIEEE goes online 


The Central Board of Secondary Education has announced its plans to try a hand at this technology-based method of testing. Cautious in its approach – and rightfully so, considering the numbers at hand are

much larger here – the CBSE is offering the computer-based testing option for the All India Engineering Entrance Examination, only to one lakh students, on a first come, first served basis in select cities.

AIEEE examination, which is the qualifying examination for undergraduate courses in engineering, architecture and planning in all the National Institutes of Technology (previously known as Regional Engineering Colleges) and a few other deemed universities and institutions that have an AIEEE quota, turns 10 this year.

A notification on the AIEEE website states: “AIEEE will be conducted by Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi on 24th April, 2011 (Sunday) for admission to B.E./B.Tech. and B.Arch./ B.Planning courses. Sale of Information Bulletin will start from 15th December, 2010 from various branches of Banks/Institutions/Regional Offices of the Board.” It adds that candidates can start applying to take the test online from November 23 by logging on to

Firstly, the AIEEE is much larger in scale than CAT. It had 11 lakh students appearing for it in 2009, and if this exam becomes centralised for all colleges the numbers will be mind-boggling (students from all States will then take the exam, making it a number that will run into even a crore). Even in the current format, 11 lakh is too big a number, says an official source. The infrastructure needed to administer an exam like this will be stupendous. Which is why they are limiting the numbers to one lakh to test the waters, and limiting it to testing centres in a few cities.

Secondly, and more importantly, academics point out that going digital will give some an unfair advantage. “Unlike the CAT, this examination is given at the graduate level. Its audience is from across the country, including tier-II cities and even rural townships where computers are not as popular. At least, not yet,” says a principal of a Pre-University College.

In its current format, where students can choose between computer-based and ‘paper-and-pencil' format, the MHRD has allowed for both.

However, a lot of thought and debate needs to go into any move to make it an entirely paperless exam, the lecturer added. She explains that in two of the three pre-university colleges that she has taught in, students are not computer-literate. Even if they are, it is only to the extent of browsing or checking the e-mail. “To be able to do an exam online, that too at a consistent speed and level of accuracy, requires a fair amount of familiarity with computers. A large section of society is really not there yet, and we must wait for the digital divide to collapse before any such thing is attempted.”

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