New Delhi: An ambitious government-mandated plan aimed at holding a common admission test for all the business schools in the country, except the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), seems to have run into glitches at the test stage itself.
The government wants to reduce the number of entrance exams that students have to appear for in order to reduce stress among candidates and the duplication of effort, thereby reducing costs.
The online trial for the first common management admission test (CMAT) has been suspended, leaving B-School aspirants confused. CMAT is to debut in this academic session and will be one of six national-level tests, such as the common admission test (CAT) and management aptitude test, based on which students will gain admission to management courses across India. CMAT is to be conducted by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in 61 cities from 20 February to 28 February in technical partnership with education technology company Aptech Ltd.
“The trial test was suspended because of some link issue on 12 December. It was supposed to go live on 14 December but could not,” said an executive with the CMAT helpline in Mumbai without giving details. The helpline is being managed by AICTE, the regulator.
The person said authorities expect the trial to be back online on Saturday and run until February.
The details of CMAT were announced by the human resource development (HRD) ministry in the first week of December.
“This initiative has been taken to address the issue of physical, mental and financial stress being imposed on the students through the number of entrance examinations conducted by the institutions for admission to management programmes in AICTE-approved institutions...,” said the 5 December HRD ministry notification.
AICTE had announced a trial on its website as a model for the real test to help students become familiar with the computer-based test.
“A trial test will be available from 12 December onwards for the candidates to have a feel of the online test and navigational functionality,” an AICTE notification said. “Candidates are advised to go through (the test) carefully to familiarize themselves with the screens, layout and navigation.”
The halt of the trial is worrying students as it brings to mind the disruptions that plagued CAT, based on which IIM admissions are decided, the first time it was conducted online in 2009. The glitches were ironed out the following year.
“It seems they are under-prepared. The kind of due diligence and cross-checking required is missing. It looks like a typical government agency kind of approach,” said Ulhas Vairagkar, director at the Triumphant Institute of Management Education Pvt. Ltd (TIME) chain of coaching centres in Delhi. “We have told our students not to panic and treat this as another entrance exam.”
There may not be too many takers for the exam among the business schools as it hasn’t been marketed well, he said. “It’s a typical government-type action—we want it, so you do it.”
In an announcement, the ministry said, “CMAT scores will help students get admissions in AICTE-approved institutes/university departments in all management programmes catering to more than 400,000 sanctioned seats of AICTE-approved management institutions.”