Monday, October 12, 2009

Ask for data on JEE and mum's the word at IIT-G

The bungling of the 2006 Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) may have undermined the reputation of Indian Institute of Technologies for holding one of the toughest entrance exams in the country; but the premier engineering institutes have decided to fight tooth and nail against any measure to open JEE to scrutiny. Misuse of data by coaching centres has now become the latest ruse which IIT-Guwahati (IIT G)— which organised the 2009 JEE— is using to refrain from full disclosure of JEE 2009 data.

In an email to Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi on October 2, IIT G director Gautam Barua said, "We (IITs) are apprehensive that this request for electronic data is to profit from it by using the data for IIT-JEE coaching purposes (planning, targeting particular cities, population segments, etc)." Subsequently, on October 3, Barua wrote, "If private details of all candidates appearing in exams are to be released as a matter of course, then there will be serious repercussions on privacy, issues of profit-making, possibly even property rights may come in." On property rights, he said that the JEE data has monetary value, and the "IIT system may wish to price it." Barua was responding to a charge that IIT G had failed to comply with a Central Information Commission order to release JEE data to Right to Information applicant Prof Rajeev Kumar of IIT Kharagpur.

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