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CAT scam `a blow to image of IIMs'

Anjali Prayag

Bangalore, Nov. 24

THE Common Admission Test (CAT) question paper leak scam couldn't have come at a worse time for the IIMs, already rapped for being elitist and expensive.

The biggest casualty has perhaps been the immaculate repute of the institute and all that it stands for. Dr Prakash G. Apte, Director, IIM Bangalore, "This is something very unfortunate. It has definitely damaged the reputation of the institute and we have to review the examination process."

Chary of commenting on the next course of action, he said that the Joint Action Committee would be meeting on Tuesday and would "recommend an action process and set a date for the exam again".

Commenting on the loopholes in the system, Prof Apte said that there were various aspects to the examination process. "There are some areas where we don't have 100 per cent control."

On the source of the leak, Prof Joe Philip, Director, Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship, Bangalore and a former Director of IIM, Bangalore said: "It couldn't have happened from the printing press or any of the IIMs itself because the staff there are very reliable."

Mr Prahlad Rao, Director, Career Plan, a Bangalore-based training institute for management entrance tests, said that now that the leak has happened once, the students are worried that it could happen again.

"The CAT exam is a two-hour game. On some days you do well, on some you may not. Students who believed they have done well are naturally disappointed. You see you can't repeat the performance."

About 2,200 of Career Plan students have written the exam this year.

Mr Harish Agarwal, an MBA aspirant who took the test on Sunday, said: "I was really disappointed because I had done really well and may not be able do it again."

He said that he was offered the question paper on Saturday morning, but refused to take it. The price tag? "Anywhere in the range of Rs 4 lakh."

According to Prof Philip, another issue that should now be debated is whether pluralism should continue (having different entrance tests for different institutes) or whether there should be a single entrance test for all management institutes.

Currently, there are about five different tests being conducted for management courses.

Apart from the CAT, which covers several management institutes, there are XAT (Xavier's Aptitude Test) for the Xavier's institutes and MAT (Management Aptitude Test). Sunday's scam could well have an influence on this decision too.

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