The Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Advanced 2021 administering entity, IIT Kharagpur has released the information brochure for the engineering entrance exam. While the information brochure and examination dates are announced simultaneously, the prevailing uncertainty due to Covid and subsequent postponement of JEE Main and JEE Advanced has nullified the previously announced date of JEE Advanced. A new date will be announced shortly, following which the dates for registration, admission, counselling etc will also be changed.
Framework for the exam
However, the brochure contains other information that aspirants will find useful. For instance, students who were eligible to take the JEE Advanced 2020 but could not do so due to Covid restrictions will be given the opportunity to take the JEE Advanced 2021, as a first-of-its kind move. Welcoming this gesture, Sarit K Das, Institute professor, IIT Madras and former director, IIT Ropar, tells Education Times, “The information brochure will give students the framework for JEE Advanced 2021, in the absence of which they are left completely in the dark. It will give them an opportunity to survey the policies and guidelines as well as the exam pattern and availability of seats in various streams at different IITs to help them in their preparations.”
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Das elaborates that around 8,000-9,000 students who had qualified for JEE Advanced 2020 through JEE Main 2020 but did not attempt the JEE Advanced exam for admission to IITs due to the pandemic would be given the opportunity to attempt the exam as a one-time measure. Further, these candidates would be considered in addition to and not as part of the total number of candidates who would qualify from JEE (Main) 2021 for appearing in JEE Advanced 2021. Explaining why all who missed JEE Advanced after qualifying in 2020 are allowed, Das says, “While it may be difficult to verify their Covid related challenges, JEE Advanced being a high-stake exam, few would have wanted to opt out at the last minute unless there is a genuine reason.”
“Considering the uncertainty over the JEE Main 2021 exam dates, it would be difficult to forecast the exact dates of JEE Advanced 2021, but due to the paucity of time, the gap between JEE Main and JEE Advanced may be reduced, as in 2020, owing to the Covid-induced crisis. In the coming time, I expect that the Joint Admission Board (JAB) committee will consult with the ministry of education to finalise the exact dates,” he adds.
Board exam pass
As for the JEE Advanced 2021 eligibility criteria and whether it must include performance in the class XII board results, candidates must pass class XII exam with Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, a language and any subject other than these four subjects. “The decision will not compromise on the quality of students to be selected for the IITs, considering JEE Advanced and Main are among the toughest exams to qualify in the country,” says Deepankar Choudhury, Chair Professor and Head of Civil Engineering department of IIT Bombay and former JEE Advanced 2015 organising vice chairman and GATE 2021 organising chairman. He explains that the board result is important in so far as it helps in the overall assessment of students’ knowledge including their proficiency in the language papers that tend to get ignored during the competitive exams preparation.
“Since board exams are non-uniform throughout the country, to hinge assessments based on the earlier 75% marks criteria in the board results would not do justice to the students of those state boards where marking is very strict. The pass criterion seems like a fair deal to the students,” Choudhury adds.
Social distancing model for safety
On the need to increase the number of exam centres for JEE Advanced 2021 amid the pandemic crisis, Choudhury says a lot depends on the digital exam service provider’s ability to set up the required exam facilities in the remote areas to bring the exam closer to the students.
“Since there is not much of a significant difference in the Covid situation this year as compared to last year at this point in time, the number of examination centres may not be increased unless the situation takes a turn for the worse,” says BS Murty, director, IIT Hyderabad, emphasising that JEE Advanced as a computer based test (CBT) must be held even as Board exams have been cancelled, as careers of several students are at stake.
Choudhury stresses that “a social distancing model” which was followed in earlier JEE Advanced 2020 and GATE 2021 needs to be implemented at each of the exam centres where sanitisation measures, temperature checks, mandatory masks and isolation wards needs to be included.