Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The CAT snafu

Maladministration of the ongoing Common Admission Test for entry into IIMs and other business schools is a big blow to the reputation of IIMs, particularly IIM Ahmedabad. One may argue that the computer-based test is administered by Prometric assisted by NIIT and therefore IIMs are not to blame. But it is not so. After all, Prometric and NIIT are only acting as agents of IIMs and therefore the blame for serious hiccups falls on IIMs.

One may empathise with IIMA in response to the CAT convener, Prof.Deodhar's repeated use of the word 'empathy' for the CAT applicants. However, playing ducks and drakes with an exam that is taken seriously by more than 2 lac students is unpardonable. It is now manifest that the test is being conducted without proper prior preparations. Rescheduling the test for the disappointed applicants does not salvage the situation in full. It is incomprehensible how IIMA decided to conduct only computer-based test when it could not have been fully convinced about availability of foolproof hardware and software.

Who is accountable for this fiasco? Obviously it is IIM. What should it do now? At a minimum, it must conduct a written CAT for all the applicants at its cost. Otherwise, the weightage in the computer-based mishandled test would be language-10%, quant-10%, logic-10% and LUCK-70% This incident proves that just one mishap is enough to tear to shreds the reputation built over years.

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