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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Need Help in Teaching Programming to First Year Students

This is not the usual blog article. I am not giving my opinions and ideas, nor I am forwarding others' ideas/opinions that I find interesting. I am seeking YOUR ideas and opinions.

So, here is the issue. I am the instructor for the first year programming course at IIT Kanpur in the coming semester. It is called, "Principles of Computing" and the focus is to learn how to use computation in problem solving. So algorithmic thinking is what we want to inculcate. Since some programming language has to be used as a vehicle for this purpose, the Institute has decided on "C" language. So, the language is not negotiable at this time, even though I know that there are strong views of people on this. Also, the labs are going to be Linux (some recent fedora distribution most probably, that too is not negotiable). The last time I taught this course was 16 years ago. "Pascal" was the language used at that time. And there were less than 200 students.

I want your ideas on improving learning in this course.

To begin with, a bit more detail about the course structure. We will have three one-hour lectures a week for about 525 students (roughly 60 percent of the students who take admission this year). There will be one one-hour tutorial in small groups of 35 students each. And there will be one 3-hour lab for all students. Every day, 3 sections will have lab, so about 105-110 students will have a lab every day. Besides the instructor, there is one tutor and two teaching assistants for each section of 35 students. Tutors take care of tutorials, while tutors and TAs jointly take care of the labs. Tutors are normally either faculty members or PhD students, while TAs are normally MTech students, though some tutors will also be MTech students.

Now the questions.

First, is there some diagnostic test or some other mechanism to figure out the background of each student. I am expecting that a quarter of the students would have never done any programming. The second group would be good at algorithmic thinking, but would have done programming in a language other than 'C'. The third group would have done programming in 'C' but still no algorithmic thinking. One wishes they hadn't learnt programming. And finally the group which does not need this course. It is easy to identify the first group - just ask - but how do you identify the other three groups so that there can be appropriate pedagogical interventions for each group.

Second, What are the good books as textbooks. I have gone through many 'C' books but not very happy with any of them. I am looking for something that focuses on "algorithmic thinking." It should develop the habit of making flow charts and writing pseudo code, before worrying about syntax of any computer language. If there is no 'C' book which has good enough focus on "algorithmic thinking" then I don't mind having two books.

Third, what interventions can be there for different groups - particularly the first group and the last group. Having additional labs/tutorials for the first group in the first couple of weeks - is this good enough, or should we plan to do this throughout the semester. Would you suggest some material which is specifically targeted at novice users. I am thinking of offering projects to the 4th group to keep them engaged. Can something else be done.

Fourth, I am looking for interesting videos of 5-10 minutes which explain some aspect of problem solving (algorithms), which I could use once in a while in the class just to give a different perspective, to make lectures more interesting, to ensure that students don't sleep in the class, etc. But they could also be linked from the course website (moodle) so that people can watch it on their own. Similarly any longer duration videos (but they will only be linked from course website, not played during the lecture). Any links would be deeply appreciated.

Fifth, I am planning to setup moodle, and use that as LMS for this course. How can I use blogging and wiki to improve learning. Is there a role that social networking can play in improving learning.

Sixth, how do I detect copying in the labs. Is there some software that can go through all the 110 odd submissions, and tell me whether the two programs are too close for comfort. Similarly, is there some software that can go through the program and comment on its quality - tell me if the student is using one letter variable names, or not writing any comments, etc.

Seventh, what is a good debugger environment for first time users. gdb is an overkill. Remember, we will use Linux environment. So the debugger has to run in Linux, and should be free.

Eighth, anything else that your experience can help me with.

If you feel more comfortable giving me advise on email, my address is: sanghi[AT]

Thanks much in advance.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

IIT Gandhinagar: An Innovative Orientation Program for Freshers

While the JEE selected candidates is busy thinking of what should be the order of their preference of various program in different IITs, IIT Gandhinagar has been busy preparing a plan to engage the new students, when they arrive on campus. Recently I received a copy of the final plan, and I must say that it was innovative enough that I thought of describing to a larger audience of this blog.

The biggest departure from the norm is that it will be a 5-week program. Normally an institute will have a 2-3 day orientation program to give new students a feel for the place, tell them all the important rules, introduce them to important people and offices, help them in opening a bank account, register them for courses, get them computer accounts, and all the rest. And the classes start immediately thereafter.

IIT Gandhinagar believes that there are a couple of problems with this method. One, a couple of days are really not sufficient time for someone to settle down in a hostel environment for the first time in his/her life, and start a tough academic program immediately. For most students (though some would have stayed in a hostel in Kota) this would be a very major transition, and should be done over a longish period. The second issue is that most of these students have only studied Physics, Chemistry and Maths in the last 2-4 years (except some studies to pass the two other courses in 12th board). Most of them have not read a novel, or seen a movie, or played any games in this period. In order to develop their overall personality, there is a need to expose them to a variety of things, so that they can pick up their interests once again, and nurture that along with their studies.

And, therefore, IIT-GN would have a 5-week orientation program for the incoming batch, which will focus on social awareness, values, creativity, physical activities and sports, and team work and communication. There will be large number of guest lectures on different topics, visits to different places in Ahmedabad, meeting NGOs, workshops on painting, creative writing, and many more, performing arts like theater, music, and dance, vocational stuff like pottery, carpentry, etc., athletics, outdoor sports (both team sports and individual sports), and yoga, personality development workshops, and many more things. The list of activities is truly impressive. And in order to create the right environment for faculty-student interaction, there will be many activities involving both faculty and students (that is, not the activities where the faculty is teaching, but activities where they are equals). Hopefully, that will make sure that there is close interaction for the entire duration of the stay for these students, and the students will feel comfortable in approaching faculty, if they need any help or advice.

The hope is that all this would result in students discovering their passion, becoming more creative and confident to face any challenge in future, and they will become well rounded individual who are sensitive to their surroundings and have a strong value system.

I don't know how much they will achieve within 5 weeks, but this is certainly worth an experiment. As Prof. Kelkar (the founding Director of IIT Kanpur) used to say, "if academic institutions won't do experiments, who else will." I wish them well.

(I will talk about another of their innovation in a couple of days regarding how they utilize the summer term. And the all important disclosure, so that you know my potential bias: I am a Guest Professor at IIT Gandhinagar.)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

JEE Counseling: Changes in IIT Kanpur

As I said in my yesterday's blog article, I have been getting lots of emails, and the maximum number of them are related to placement data. The next biggest chunk of questions are related to the changes that IIT Kanpur has made in its offerings recently. So, today, I want to talk about those changes, and how they may or may not affect your decision to rank IITK programs in your list of choices.

The first change has been to scrap all BTech-MTech dual degree programs, and add all the dual-degree seats to the corresponding BTech program. The idea is to offer flexibility to all students. The dual-degree will continue to be offered, but it will be an option for students of BTech programs. So after you have been in the system for a couple of years, you can decide whether you want to graduate with a BTech degree or want an MTech degree as well (besides other new options that have been created).

The second change that you will notice is that instead of 5-year Integrated MSc programs, we now have 4-year BS (Bachelor of Science) programs. These are in the disciplines of Physics, Chemistry, Economics, and Maths and Computing. The report of the Academic Review Committee, available from the Dean of Academic Affairs website, does not elaborate the reasons for this change. But I can make a guess.

Several academicians and national academies have previously talked about the need to make the under-graduate degree in all disciplines, but particularly in Science, to be of 4-year duration, as opposed to the current 3-year BSc. And this change can only happen when some Institute displays a leadership position and just does it, and hopefully, others by looking at the success of this program, will follow. Of course, for the foreseeable future, there will be both a 3-year under-graduate program in most universities, and a 4-year undergraduate program in some universities. Both will be named "Bachelor of Science." To differentiate between the two programs, their short form will be different. The 3-year degree will be known as "BSc" while the 4-year degree will be known as "BS".

It is good that IIT Kanpur has taken a leadership position in introducing BS. But whether this is going to be a sustained leadership position, only time will tell. Obviously, there will be problems that the first couple of batches will face. You will have to explain to everyone that you are not a failure who is doing a 3-year program in four years, but really a pioneer who is helping move this idea that the under-graduate program should be of 4-years. How much will IIT Kanpur support you when you have to provide all these explanations, I don't know. If you are having a difficulty in getting admission to a PhD program somewhere, will Director, IIT Kanpur, pick up the phone and talk to the Director there to explain this new degree. Well, it depends on who the Director will be 4 years from now. So there are some risks, but a good move by IIT Kanpur.

The third major change this year has been the introduction of double major and minor programs. Theoretically, it will now be possible for someone doing an undergraduate program in discipline "X" to also get a second undergraduate degree in any discipline "Y", by spending just one year extra. It is possible because if you look at the detailed curriculum of various programs, you would notice that out of about 40 odd courses to be done, only 15 courses or so are from the discipline itself. You have to do a lot of courses in Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Technical Arts, Engineering Sciences, Humanities, several non-discipline electives, and so on. So to get another degree you only need to do these 15 courses (or whatever that number is for a specific program). It is expected that some of those courses you will be able to do in the "elective slots" of the original undergraduate degree. Some courses may be waived (like B Tech Project may not be necessary in the second undergraduate degree, and some courses in the two disciplines may have significant overlap, and hence waived). The remaining courses you should be able to do in one extra year.

As a concept, this is great. Provides excellent flexibility, the reason because of which I have been recommending IIT Bombay to JEE candidates. But unfortunately, the devil is in the detail.

There is a lack of clarity on how liberal will be the implementation. My guess is that it won't be very liberal. So the report I referred to in the beginning says that the option for double major will be available to only those students who have a CPI of 8.0 or above. This means that you will have to be approximately in the top 40 percent of the class to avail of this option. That is somewhat restrictive already. The next thing it says is that the departments can restrict "admission" of second degree students to 10 percent of their strength. So, for Computer Science, we will have the right to restrict admission to ONLY 9 students, our current batch strength being 92. And, I can tell you that our department will probably restrict access to the minimum number, nine, and most other "popular" departments may do the same thing.

The detailed rules are yet to be formed, and the chances are that it would be possible for someone to change one's mind and after a semester or two, just inform us that s/he is no longer interested in the second major. If this happens, then I would expect that 9 toppers amongst the non-CSE students would ask for admission to Computer Science major, do a couple of CS courses, and then withdraw, but then it will be too late for others to be given admission.

So, I think the impact of second major would be very negligible. Till all the rules are framed, my advice would be to not be swayed by the announcement of double major. We offer good programs anyway. So consider IIT Kanpur based on that. If you are able to get double major in your preferred discipline, that will be an added advantage later on.

The last time IIT Kanpur introduced a new type of program, which was the BTech-MTech dual degree, it could not come up with clear, student-friendly rules for 10 years. And I have no hope of IIT Kanpur deciding rules on a fast track for the double major students.

My guess is that the implementation of minor program will be more liberal, and a lot more students will be able to do courses in another discipline to get a minor, than the double major.

But as always, I am not an official spokesperson of IIT Kanpur. I do not take any responsibility for correctness of the information provided here. Please read the ARC report that I have linked above for more details. And follow my opinions at your own risk.

Added on 1st July, 2011

PDF file for the Frequently Asked Questions on New Changes

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Should placement be a criteria for choosing your program of study

In the last one month, I would have received no less than a few hundred emails asking for all sorts of advice, sometimes complimenting me, and sometimes strongly disagreeing with my views. The strongest disagreement has been on the issue of placement.

I have always advised that students and parents should not look at the placement records of different colleges or programs before deciding their choices. And I get asked many times, don't I like money. Why do I want everyone to be a professor. Apparently, professors are satisfied with less money.

The truth is that I love money too. When 6th pay commission almost doubled my salary, I did not protest. And if 7th pay commission doubles it again, I will not be protesting at that time.

And I don't ever say you should not worry about money. I only say that you should not be bothered about placement information.

But this question has been raised so many times, that I thought I will write my views on it in some detail, though you will find parts of it in some of my earlier blog articles.

First of all, placement information is so unreliable, that in most cases it cannot be relied upon. Some colleges will tell you the top salary, which only one student would have got. If you know a bit of statistics, you would know that a single sample cannot be used to deduce a general principle (of ordering programs in this context). The most reliable barometer of the current employability and the economic value of a program, is the median salary of that program. But only if the program has large enough number of students, say at least 40-50, who are interested in taking up a job, and indeed get one. Hardly any institute will give you median salaries. And a large number of programs have much fewer students graduating, or having an interest in placement. If colleges give you median income, they will not tell you how many people did not even get a job. Sometimes, they will remove weak students from the list, and then give you placement statistics. Sometimes, they will tell you the number of jobs and number of students, but will count two jobs to a student as two - so you can't figure out how many people don't have jobs. In top places, sometimes students would not go for placement but for higher studies. That is not captured by the placement statistics. Then there is a huge fudge factor that both companies and colleges introduce in terms of what constitutes salary - is it take home income, is it pre-tax salary, is it the cost-to-company, etc.

Second, the placement is only an indication of how a group was valued by those wanted to recruit that sort of talent. The individual differences are lost in the statistics. May be the guys who got good jobs are those who also had good soft skills, something that the program did nothing to add value to. I have no doubt that there is a difference in the market value of different academic programs. But that difference cannot be judged by placement figures, since they get biased by the presence or absence of certain categories of students. For example, if we assume that CS education adds more market value than Chemistry education, the degree of the difference cannot be judged by placement figures alone. The difference in median value of salaries offered will be partly due to CS versus Chemistry, but also partly due to the fact that CS program attracted much higher ranked individuals to begin with. So some difference is due to the set of individuals who are joining the program. (If you believe that 100 percent of the difference is because of the discipline, then essentially you are admitting that you bring no value as an individual to your recruiter. Your recruiters should be careful with that attitude.)

Third, placement data is for last year's batch. You will be graduating 4-5 years from now. What will be the market valuation of your discipline/program, we don't know. Things may change in the interim period. Need to take that into account as well.

Fourth, you are looking at last year's placement data because you want to be rich. Fair enough. But there is no study done looking at the correlation between the first month salary, and the career earnings. If you want to be rich (and why not), you should be looking at a decent living immediately after the graduation, but most importantly, a hefty salary after 30-40 years. Your work life is going to be 50 years. Too bad, but you will be working till the age of 75. (Even today most people retire between 65 and 70 years of age, and with the rapid advances in medical science and technologies, it would be at least 75 for you.) Today's placement data gives you absolutely no indication of what your salary will be 30-40 years from now. In fact, I just did a small informal check up on my batchmates. We entered IIT Kanpur about 30 years ago. I guessed the incomes of people by their designation/company/location, etc. For some people, I knew. And based on this very crude, unreliable, statistically insignificant experiment, I can still confidently say that the median income of Computer Science graduates of our batch is nothing to write home about compared to many other programs.

Fifth, the emails that I have been getting, they only ask for "scope" of two programs whose perceived economic value is very similar. Nobody has ever asked me for an opinion between English literature in Delhi University versus Computer Science at IIT Kanpur. The perceived economic value of the two programs are so vastly different, after all. And if you consider money in such a situation, you are being normal. Almost everyone will prefer 10 lakhs over 2 lakhs, even if one has to give up one's interest. But in India, we are worrying about very small amounts of money. I never get asked to compare Computer Science with Mining. I only get asked comparison between EE and CS, or between Mechanical and Chemical, etc. And the reason for all the confusion, all the stress is that between these two programs, the difference in the median salary last year would not be more than 5 percent, and people are really trying to figure out whether this difference of 5 percent will stay for 4-5 more years, and indeed 40-50 more years. When the difference is 50 percent, then people automatically assume that the difference may come down or go up, but it will never be erased. So they are sure in such circumstances which program they want to put ahead of the other.

Now, if the economic value of a degree program differs from the other one by only 5 percent, you should know that your interest and passion in a program can at least cover up that 5 percent difference. In fact, the interest and passion can often compensate very significantly in a job/career, much more than the 5 percent.

Across the length and breadth of this country, parents and students are not even attempting to know their interests, their passions, their aspirations, in the hope of getting that 5 percent extra money. Worse, many people will directly, shamelessly, tell me, that they are interested in one discipline, but will like to get admission in the other, because of a possibility (not even a guarantee) that they might get slightly better placement. And that bothers me.

And what I feel is that if so many of our youth at an age where they should be most idealistic are willing to give up their interest and passion for 5 percent, when they grow up and become less idealistic (and more "practical"), would they not be willing to give up a principle or two for 10 percent. Wouldn't such students in an academic institution be willing to do plagiarism, copy an assignment, and cheat in the exam.

And what would they be willing to do for 100 percent, just the imagination of it fills me with horror.

I don't think Anna Hazare will be successful.

Friday, June 3, 2011

High Court Directs JEE to find ways to fill vacant seats in IITs

Recently, the Honorable High Court of Andhra Pradesh has passed an order directing JEE to find ways to fill up the vacant seats in 15 IITs, IT BHU, and ISM Dhanbad. Here is a link to download a copy of the order.

Since only the judgment is on the web, it is difficult to know the exact argument of all stake holders, but what I can make out from the judgment is the following.

The petitioner is a student of ISM Dhanbad, who got admission to the Institute in 2010 after passing the Joint Entrance Examination. When the results of the first round of counseling were announced, she was allotted MSc (Chemistry) in ISM Dhanbad. She paid her fee, etc., as per the JEE procedure. If you recall, last year, there was an error in the counseling. The Counseling software had not taken into account the results of the Architecture aptitude test. When this error was detected and corrected, it turned out that the course allotment of several students had to be canceled. This student was one of them. There were 52 such students. She got lucky that at least she could get a program allotted. She was assigned MSc (Mathematics and Computing). By the only 41 students could get some course in the second round. Eleven students had no where to go (even though as we will see later, there were hundreds of seats vacant in the system).

After this the details are sketchy. She apparently wanted a better branch. ISM Dhanbad refused saying that the branch changes will be done after 2nd semester, based on performance in the 1st year. However, she noticed that the rules in ISM Dhanbad did not allow too many people to get branch change. The rules said a student is not allowed to leave a branch, if that would cause the strength of the program to become less than 50%. A very large number of students who had been offered admission to ISM Dhanbad had not joined, leaving more than 250 vacancies in the Institute. This meant that many programs would have less than 50% seats filled up. Or the number of branch changes that would be permitted would be extremely few. So, she appealed to High Court that JEE should have filled up those huge number of vacant seats in all the institutes put together, and if such a thing was done in 2010, she would have got a better program to begin with.

JEE responded to the writ petition by arguing that it is not possible to keep doing multiple rounds of admission, since the classes have to start at some time. And IITs have such a high standard of academics that doing admission even a few days into the semester would be harmful to the quality of education.

The court asked for information on the number of vacant seats after the students had joined various institutes. It turned out that the number of seats vacant were 8% of the total seats available through JEE. The court has said that based on JEE's argument, if there were a small number of seats vacant, it would have accepted the situation. But the argument cannot justify such a large number of vacant seats, particularly when JEE could have started the admission process a bit earlier, and tried to incorporate another round of admission process.

For 2010 admissions, the court has asked ISM Dhanbad to allot any of the vacant seats to the student in question before doing its branch changes. And for 2011 admissions, it has asked JEE to do whatever it deems fit to make sure that such a large number of seats are not left vacant.

This is an excellent judgment which will make JEE more student friendly. However, there is one aspect of the whole admission process which has not been clearly understood by the court. If JEE were to do a 3rd round of counseling, it would still leave 8% of the seats vacant, unless the 3rd round was done AFTER the semester started.

Let us understand why third round prior to the semester would not help. The reasons for vacant seats is NOT that students who are offered seats do not accept it. Such a number is rather small after the 2nd round. The reason for vacant seats is that students accept the admission offer by paying whatever amount is needed, and then never inform JEE that they would like to withdraw. They just don't show up on the campus on the 1st day of the semester. So you can have any number of rounds prior to the semester beginning, and you still wouldn't know how many people won't show up on the appointed day.

So what is the solution. There are, in fact, several solutions possible.

The obvious one that Central Counseling Board (which does counseling for all NITs based on AIEEE ranks) makes use of is to offer admission after the semester has started. The assumption with which CCB works is that teaching is unimportant and even if a student misses a few days, nah a few weeks, may be half the semester, it is still ok for him/her to get admission. The underlying assumption appears to be that teaching in most such places is so poor that it is perhaps better for the student to not face such teaching :-) But JEE can't make such an assumption, and it has correctly argued in the court that late admissions will result in poorer quality of education.

The second solution is to admit more students than the number of seats that you have. This is the solution that every single country in the world follows (other than India, of course). In India, we believe, we are very unique. Our problems are very unique. So nothing that works in the rest of the world will work in India. (Of course, the corollary is that what does not work in the rest of the world will also not work in India.) And, therefore, we must do opposite of what the rest of the world does, and consider our seats as sacrosanct.

But, if somehow JEE can come out of this anti-rest-of-the-world feeling, then what they may do is to look at historical data about the percentage of students who don't join a particular institute, and admit that many extra students to each institute. So if we have 500 unreserved seats (since we need to do this category wise), and 10% students did not join on an average in the last 5 years, then may be I can admit 8% more (to be on the conservative side - I don't want to exceed my target strength, not by large number, anyway). So, we shall admit 540, and if 10% did not join, I will still have 486 students as opposed to 450 in the current scenario. Yes, there is a risk that I might have 510 students. But the question is that if you have capacity to deal with 500 students properly and in the best way that you want to deal with them, would you rather have 450 students and waste a significant investment, or would you rather live with a very small probability of 510 students in some year (and hence the quality of education for that batch presumably going down).

Of course, the immediate question will be what branch to assign to these extra students. It is assumed that the students will give a choice during the counseling that they are willing to be admitted to an Institute without any assignment of a program. So someone, for example, could give a higher preference for IITB-NONE compared to ISM-Dhanbad-Mining-BTech. On the joining date at an institute, we will know how many students in each category have joined. Based on this data, we know vacancies in each program in each category. We can do an internal branch change of each student based on their preferences in JEE counseling, and by this process, the unassigned students will get some program assigned to them. It is assumed that when they opt for unassigned seat, they are actually willing to take any program in the Institute. So if they have not put in all the choices during the JEE counseling, they could be given a random seat.

The problem will come when the number of vacancies (or people not joining) is less than the number of students admitted against unassigned seats. In such a case, each institute will take its own decision on how to assign programs to these people. The easiest will be to increase the number of seats in each program by same proportion. If there are 10 programs, and there are 10 unassigned students, increase 1 seat in each program.

This has a downside. Most of the JEE selected candidates - while they may have solved hugely complex mathematical problems in JEE, they will now claim that they don't understand probability and statistics. They will make statements like this: If you have 500 seats and you are admitting 8% extra, then theoretically you could have 540 students. It means that at least in such a case, you will somehow manage 540 students. Then why not admit 540 students anyway. The only answer to this question is that if you do not understand probability and statistics, then you don't deserve to be in an IIT. We will take your name off the JEE merit list.

There is a solution number 3. This is to somehow have an incentive for the student to inform JEE in advance that he has decided not to take admission. What could be such an incentive. How about returning some of the money that you charge them. Right now, JEE asks for Rs. 40,000 to be deposited for accepting admission, and whether you decide to withdraw the next day or 2 weeks later, you don't back a single paisa. If we could have a sliding scale. If you withdraw within a day, we will give you back most of the money, if you withdraw within a week, we will deduct some more, and so on. Then there is an incentive for people to decide fast and communicate that decision to JEE.

The problem with this scheme is that the Government has mandated that anyone leaving the program till the day of beginning of the semester, has to be refunded the entire amount (except a token processing fee of Rs. 1,000). IITs currently are below the radar of the government, and don't get hauled up when they don't give any refund. But if they start giving refund, they will have to follow this policy of 100% refund. This policy of 100% refund has played havoc with admission process in India. Ever since this rule has been made in 2007, most admissions are now done after the beginning of the semester in most colleges across the country. To know more about it, you may want to read one of my old blog article on refund rules. Strangely, most students and parents believe that this refund rule is very good, not realizing how it has destroyed education in NITs, and other good institutes, and how it is actually making more money for private colleges, since most admissions are now happening after the beginning of the semester, where the refunds are not controlled by this rule anyway.

So, IITs may have to argue with MHRD to junk this rule and come with an alternate scheme with gradations for refund depending on how many days before the semester the student is withdrawing.

Of course, there is a 4th solution. IIT Directors can agree that after the 2nd round of counseling, each Institute can decide on its own whether they want to do more admissions, and do those admissions in whatever way they deem fit (increase ad hocism). Of course, JEE could go to Supreme Court and not do anything on the ground this year.

The right thing to do is to do both 2nd and 3rd solutions. Admit additional students, and have a graded refund policy. Doing these things together will clean up the admission process not just in IITs, but in all engineering colleges, since they will then be able to do the same thing.

In my opinion, this high court ruling is a godsend to IITs to improve their admission process without political interference or too much media glare. After all, they will be following the legal mandate. I hope they will do something that will have a positive impact on all engineering admissions throughout the country.

In the end, I will like to just give out the vacant seats last year in old IITs, BHU and ISM in unreserved and OBC categories (combined). IITB (2/663), IITD (5/640), IITK (8/622), IITM (10/630), IIT-GHY (20/442), IIT-KGP (54/1008), IIT-R (114/866), IT-BHU (146/785), ISM (213/760).