Reclusive KEA leaves students confused

Fake FB, SMS alerts mislead candidates, but Authority refuses to own up

Reclusive KEA leaves students confused

Lack of communication between the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) and the National Informatics Centre (NIC), which has developed and maintains the CET option entry website jointly with the former, has caused confusion among students.

Things reached a crescendo on June 22 when a post appeared on the KEA Facebook page, saying the Authority had decided to “carry forward valid options entered in CET 2013 Dummy Option Entry”.

It further stated: “You may please start option entry currently available in the dummy option entry. After the arrival of seat matrix, the option will be validated and all invalid options will be removed automatically...”

What complicated the matters was a strong denial by the KEA. Its officials maintained that they had not posted any such instruction. Mercifully, the post has been taken off since.

Several students were confused after reading the post. “What does valid option entered in Dummy Option Entry mean? We are at a loss due to poor communication from the KEA. We have been on tenterhooks over the counselling, but the KEA website has been poorly updated,” a medical seat aspirant from the City said.

Another student who also saw the Facebook post described the announcement as “very misleading”.

“Every time we open the page, we are still welcomed by the dummy option entry page. We were really confused by the wording of the post. We fear the actual counselling will begin and we won’t even know it,” the student said.

KEA officials, however, continue to deny posting the said announcement or sending any SMS. But an investigation into the episode revealed that the problem cropped up because of lack of communication between KEA and NIC.

In a letter to the KEA Administrative Officer (a copy of which is available with Deccan Herald), members of the NIC team explained: “A message has been sent informing the candidates that options entered in the dummy option entry will be retained for further process... This SMS was sent through SMS gateway without prior approval in writing from KEA... The inconvenience is highly regretted.”

Despite the furore caused by the SMS and other misleading messages, KEA officials remain unwilling to confirm when the online counselling will begin.

Fake FB pages

The absolute lack of updates by the KEA has not only flustered students, but has also creating panic. On the one hand, KEA officials deny posting such instruction or sending such an SMS. But on the other, they also claim the “existence” of fake Facebook pages under the KEA’s name, posting irrelevant details.

Officials say fraudsters are exploiting the situation by sending fraudulent SMSes to students.

“This is a ploy used by many to make a quick buck. Each time someone clicks on the link, they make money,” a KEA official stressed.

KEA officials, who have maintained silence on the specific post and the SMS, have now formed a team to investigate the fake SMS and Facebook pages.

Going by their own admission, the problem had occurred last year as well. Thousands of posts on seat exchange had to be moderated on the social networking site in 2012, a top KEA official confirmed.

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