Ending the impasse over the entrance to the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), the IIT Council Wednesday struck a compromise with the human resource ministry and agreed on a common test, but in two stages, with the final one under their control.
The council also decided that only the top 20 percent scorers of any school board will be eligible to appear in the entrance examinations.
"We have taken a unanimous decision to follow the formula suggested in Saturday's meeting. IITs will get control of the 'advanced' test," said M. Anandakrishnan, chairman of the board of governors, IIT-Kanpur.
Under the pattern adopted Wednesday, two exams - the "main" and "advanced" - will be held.
The IIT and All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) will be combined, as Sibal had advocated, with the "main" exam being the erstwhile AIEEE, while the "advanced" will be the equivalent of the IIT-JEE (joint entrance examination).
The "main" exam will screen and send top 150,000 students to appear in the "advanced" exam. This "advanced" exam will be conducted by IITs, while the "main" exam will be conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), in coordination with the IITs.
IIT-Kanpur director S.G. Dhande also said that all members of its senate were agreeable to the new formula. IIT-K had raised the banner of revolt first, declaring it will hold its own entrance exam.
The move, which came as a victory for the protesting IIT members, was, however, announced in the absence of Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal. He gave a miss to the meeting, on the pretext of not letting "political" decision overshadow the council deliberations, an IIT professor said on condition of anonymity.
The minister, however, in a statement, apologised for his absence and said he had sought to act for the best.
"I have always taken my responsibilities as a union minister seriously and tried to do my best by what the nation, and most importantly - its children who are its future - require of me," he said.
To keep the element of school board marks, as Sibal had wanted, it was decided that the top 20 percent scorers from all boards will only be eligible for the IITs.
Explaining this, CBSE director Vineet Joshi said this year, the cut-off according to top 20 percent scorers in the CBSE examination was around 78 percent.
Citing examples based on this year's marks, he said the score for Uttar Pradesh Board will be around 66 percent.
The procedure on the admission process for the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) has, however, not been finalised yet, though both will be through the "main" exam.
The new format will come into effect from 2013, if accepted by the ministry.