Veto on CAT blanket retest
- Exam for affected aspirants in January
OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
New Delhi, Dec. 16: The IIMs have decided against conducting the common admission test (CAT) afresh in a pencil-and-paper format but will hold a computerised retest for candidates who were affected by glitches.
Students who suffered because of technical glitches in the first computerised CAT this year will be identified and given a second chance in a retest that will be conducted mid-January, the IIMs today announced.
But the retest for affected candidates will prove a test for India’s premier B-schools, where any major errors could leave them answering even more questions than they face today.
“As of now, we can rule out a pencil-and-paper retest for CAT 2009. We will try our best to ensure that every candidate receives a fair opportunity by the end of the mid-January retest,” IIM Bangalore Director Pankaj Chandra said after a meeting called by higher education secretary Vibha Puri Das.
IIM Ahmedabad director Samir Barua and representatives from the other IIMs involved in organising the computerised CAT also participated in the meeting in which the HRD ministry conveyed its concerns to the institutes.
The ministry asked the IIMs to take “adequate steps to look after the interests” of all affected candidates.
The statement from the IIMs ended over two weeks of suspense over whether the IIMs would scrap the computerised CAT for this year and reconduct a pencil-and-paper test. The proposal to conduct a retest was first discussed by all the IIMs even while the computerised CAT was being conducted, IIM officials said.
“After the first few days, I myself felt that a pencil-and-paper retest may be necessary. We had thought... let’s scrap this and do a pencil-and-paper retest,” Chandra said.
Devnath Tirupati from IIM Bangalore, a member of the CAT organising committee, told The Telegraph he was convinced that a computerised retest would suffice only this Sunday.
“Till this Sunday, when Prometric (the testing service provider) presented all the data from the tests to us, I myself was in favour of a pencil-and-paper retest. That view was shared by most,” Tirupati said. “But now I believe we can honestly provide a fair playing field for all candidates through a computerised retest for affected candidates,” he said.
Barua said that the IIMs would review their contract with Prometric for coming years but added that their priority now was conducting the retest for affected candidates. The institutes had signed a five -year contract with the US-based firm earlier this year for providing the computerised CAT.
The Institutes will now set up a committee of faculty members from across the IIMs to identify affected students who will receive the mid-January retest option, Chandra said.
The IIMs estimate that fewer than 8,000 students will need a retest, the IIM Bangalore director said, but added that it would be a challenge to sieve out “genuine cases” from poor performers seeking a second opportunity.
A combination of technology and on-site reports filed by test centre staff during the CAT will be used to identify candidates who were adversely affected, test convener Satish Deodhar said.
But the IIMs are yet to finalise the set of criteria that will be used to shortlist candidates for the retest, officials said.
IIM directors will now meet their respective faculties and present detailed explanations to justify their decision against scrapping the computerised CAT, Chandra said.
“The faculty are rational and I am sure they will understand,” he said. The faculty at IIMs in Bangalore and Calcutta had resolved in favour of scrapping the computerised CAT for 2009.
The IIM Calcutta faculty, though “not completely convinced”, are likely to accept the move to accept results based on the computerised CAT, institute sources said.
I am pleased to note that good sense has prevailed and the On-line test results of this year's test will be accepted except for the ones where there were glitches. For those candidates, there will be re-tests.
I would like to ask those who were wanting to go back to the paper-pen format whether they have never had abortions in the family.
Did they stop having babies since they had an abortion, first time.
I further note that the loudest clamour for going back to the paper tests were made by IIM Kolkata.
This should be expected.
After all this is the state of Jyoti Basu, who did not allow computers to enter banks in Bengal until they had become common all over India.
No fresh ideas flow here. They hinder whatever ideas put forward by others.
After all "CHOLBE NA"(Won't run) is our Motto.
Now his lieutenants are running after Infosys, Wipro, TCS and others who will listen to him to expand in Bengal. Of course, they do not guarantee electrical power, good roads. They however guarantee at least a bandh every two months to bring the industry to standstill.
There have been glitches in the best of plans, even of NASA where astronauts have lost their lives.
That did not halt their missions, it delayed them.
When any organisation takes up a project of this size where more than 3.0 lakhs candidates sit for the first time, we should expect glitches. That does not mean we throw out the baby with the dish water.
The efforts of the IIMs should be commended and they should be encouraged so that there is no failure next time.
I also sympathise with the boys who faced the problem.
Let us hope they do well in the re-tests.