Relief for IIM aspirants

Ministry seeks report on CAT chaos

Relief for IIM aspirants


IIM aspirants at an examination centre in Bangalore on Monday. dh photo

Empathising with aspirants across the country, IIM Directors’ Forum chairman Samir Barua said at a press conference in Ahmedabad: “The IIMs would categorically like to assure candidates who could not take the test that they would get another opportunity to take the test.”

Shocked by the test fiasco Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal on Monday shot off a letter to CAT convener Satish Deodhar in Ahmedabad seeking a detailed report on the repeated disruption. “The ministry has sent a letter to Deodhar asking for a factual report on the ongoing disruption of the computer-based entrance test for admission into IIMs,” a senior HRD Ministry official said in Delhi.

The standardised competitive CAT that went online for the first time this year ran into trouble for the third consecutive day Monday when a computer crash stalled the exam at centres in three cities –– Mumbai, Bangalore and Ghaziabad. Barua reiterated that the “major reason for this (computer crashes) was a virus attack”. According to him “all precautions were taken for quarantine, but despite that the attack took place. 

Responding to reporters’ queries, Sibal said outside Parliament that the IIMs should fix this problem as soon as possible. “The IIMs are answerable to public and they should explain why such a thing has happened. I have also asked for a factual report,” he said.
Though the online test failed for two consecutive days, the IIM could not come out with concrete explanations to the students, he alleged.

Some students also complained that computers failed at the Insititute of Management Studies (IMS) Ghaziabad centre, stalling the CAT session on Monday morning. Many candidates were in a frenzy when computers crashed in around 40 centres across the country on the first and second day of the CAT. The test’s staggered computerised format has a 10-day schedule and will conclude on December 7. About 2.41 lakh students are likely to appear in the test for admission to seven IIMs and a few other B-Schools.

An American firm, Prometric, was awarded a $40-million contract by the IIMs to switch the prestigious CAT from optical marker reader assessment onto computers. The company has alleged that “viruses and malware that attacked the test delivery system were not detected by the anti-virus software at the testing centres”. A Prometric representative said candidates who could not appear in the test would be notified and their examinations would be rescheduled within the testing period.

The CAT committee has stressed that its role in administering the examination at 105 centres in 32 cities was restricted to preparing questions.  Prometric is arranging how and when the re-test would be conducted, the committee said, adding that “details will be worked out by Prometric shortly and announced.”

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