New Delhi: Almost all states on Tuesday opposed the Centre's proposal to allow flexibility to prestigious IITs according to which they can adopt a methodology for selection and admission of students which is different from the same in NITs and IIITs.

Led by Bihar, Education Ministers of the states almost unanimously said they cannot agree with a provision in the Centre's proposal that the selection criteria for candidates for the IITs would be different even as all the aspirants or IITS, IIITs and NIT will have to appear in a common test under a new format.

Considering the opposition from the Education Ministers assembled here to discuss the proposed Common Entrance Examination, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal agreed to incorporate in the minutes of the meeting that "the states were of the opinion that IITs should also adopt the same format" as that for for IIITs and NITs.

He, however, was non-committal on accepting the states' demand as IITs are governed by a separate Act.

The meeting also saw opposition from the states, including Congress-ruled Kerala and Samajwadi Party-ruled Uttar Pradesh, to the Centre's proposal for a common entrance test for all engineering institutions, including the colleges under the authority of state governments, along with the tests for IITs and other central institutes like NITs and IIITs.

However, the overwhelming opinion was in support of the common test, Sibal said in his concluding remarks.

He also said flexibility is given to the states which are under no compulsion to join the common entrance test for institutes under their jurisdiction.

"The states were requested to convey their decision on the year of joining the common admission process and the relative weightages to class XII Board marks, performance in JEE-MAIN and JEE- ADVANCED by June 30 to enable preparations to be made accordingly," he said.

It was also clarified at the meeting that where a state intends to join the common test for admission to engineering institutions in the state, the exam papers would be also available in the regional language of the state in addition to English and Hindi.

West Bengal did not send their representatives to the meeting, sources said.

In the meeting, Sibal announced the decision to start 200 Community Colleges on a pilot basis across the country in 2012-13. The number of community colleges will be scaled up gradually, he added.

He made the announcement after Madhya Pradesh Education Minister Archana Chitnis presented the Report of the Group of Ministers on the "Concept and Framework of the Community College Scheme" in the Conference.

The Report was unanimously accepted by the states and Union Territories.

While welcoming the setting up of Community Colleges, the Education Ministers agreed the concept of Community Colleges is a paradigm shift leading to skill development and energisation of the community and the youth will be educated not only for taking employment but, more importantly, for becoming self-employed.

The meeting also discussed the draft Bill for establishment of IIITs and implementation of the scheme for IIITs on public-private partnership mode.

The states unanimously supported the Bill and demanded it be moved at the earliest for Parliamentary approval.

The HRD Minister said the government intends to introduce the Bill in the monsoon session of Parliament.

On demands from the states on the scheme for establishment of IIITs, including that the private partner need not necessarily be from the industry, the meeting agreed to allow central and state public sector undertakings (PSUs) to be accepted as industry partners for establishment of IIITs.

The meeting also agreed to give states the flexibility to bring in one or more industry partners instead of limiting the number of partners to three.

(Agencies)

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