Sunday, December 20, 2009

IIMs review CAT

The online CAT (Common Admission Test) for entry into the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) continues to be bogged by controversies. The question being frequently asked is will the IIMs scrap the just-concluded CAT and revert to the paper-pencil format for this year? No concrete answers yet, but according to sources close to the development, opinions have changed over the last five days, especially with the number of candidates affected by computer glitches rising to 20,000.

Last Sunday (December 13), Prometric, the agency responsible for conducting the computerbased MBA entrance exam, gave a presentation to the IIM Directors and members of the CAT committee in Mumbai. The presentation was essentially about data from CCTV recordings and computer logs to know the magnitude of glitches. However, the officials refused to say whether any conclusion was reached on the 10-day test that had to be extended by one-day.

“The important thing is that, we now have the data. We will analyse it and then take a decision (on whether re-test would be held in the old format). It is too early to comment on anything else,” said IIM-Bangalore Director Pankaj Chandra. The Mumbai huddle was seen as a preparatory exercise before the crucial MHRD meeting scheduled on December 16. It may be mentioned here while the Directors of IIM-Ahmedabad and IIM-Bangalore are not in favour of scrapping the test, the heads of other five IIMs prefer a re-test. With doubts raised over the fairness of the test, there is a consensus among other IIMs (except IIM-A & B) that a re-test would silence all critics. “This is not to say that it is the end of road for computer-based tests. This, being the first year, we faced a lot of hurdles. But we see a lot of gains in the new format. So, next year, we would be better prepared,” said an IIM professor.

A re-test is feared to throw the entire academic schedule haywire. If the IIMs decide to hold the test in the old format this year, the CAT organisers would take at least two more months to accommodate 241,000 candidates at various colleges and institutes across the country. The admission process would also be delayed, leaving lesser time for the 2010-11 academic year. But a professor disagrees. “A re-test is difficult, not impossible. We have the mechanism in place.” CAT has been in the traditional format for 33 years. On a shorter academic schedule, another professor said: “I don’t think, it will drastically affect the schedule. Instead of July, the session may start in August 2010, and one can always curtail holidays to make up for the lost time.”

The leading business daily of the country, The Economic Times, had reported the first demand for scrapping the online exam came from the coaching centres on the fifth day. The trainers form a prominent stakeholder, as close to 200,000 candidates take tutorials for the careerdefining exam that opens doors to seven IIMs and over 150 B-schools. Apart from the technical glitches, the trainers said, questions were repeated handing out an unfair advantage to those taking the test in the later slots.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive