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Knowledge bridge

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Some of the finest IIT faculty members are assigned to its bridge courses for students coming in through the SC/ST quota. Says former IIT-B director Ashok Misra, "Students who are put through the preparatory course do as well or even better than many other SC/ST students who are taken into the IIT system directly. "

A 1993 report by ex-IIT directors PV Indiresan and NC Nigam dwelt on how quota students fared: " Of those admitted (from the SC/ST category), almost 25 per cent are asked to leave due to poor performance. "

It is to help this 25 per cent that all IITs run a preparatory programme in physics, math, chemistry and English. These are like feeder classes to speed up low ranking quota students for a year to equip them to qualify for the IITs. Students for this bridge course are selected by generously reducing cut-offs.

If the last general category student is admitted with an overall score of 150 (out of 480), the aggregate cutoff for an SC/ST student would be 75. To select students for the preparatory course, the IITs will further lower the qualifying score by another 50 per cent (37. 5 marks).

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