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Saturday, April 17, 2010

CAT can't gag us

Article Collected by - Education is My Passion

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Students who appeared for CAT '09 are unhappy about IIMs' new nondisclosure rule
Nothing is going right for CAT aspirants this year. After the chaotic first day of the online test, which was plagued by technical snags, anxious students woke up to another rude shock on Sunday morning -- CAT was cancelled in 50 labs at 24 centres across 13 cities, including two in Hyderabad.

Instead of concentrating on fixing glitches like the delays caused while logging in and cancellation of the test, students crib that the IIMs are more keen on the "gag" rule they have imposed this year. Every student appearing for CAT this year has to sign a "non-disclosure agreement" before they begin the exam. The agreement prevents students from divulging, disclosing or sharing any information, even verbally, about the test. Flouting this rule will be treated as a cognisable offence, punishable with imprisonment for a term up to three years and fine of up to Rs 2 lakh.

"It's rather harsh," says Suma P., a student. "We've toiled for a whole year for this day, and all the momentum that's built up is ruined when there are such lapses.  The gag rule only makes things harder for us as the online format is a first in CAT, and discussions with fellow students would only help clear doubts about this format."

Many are quick to dismiss this rule as "impractical" as discussing the paper after the test is "inevitable". Sambhav Jain, a B.Com final year student from Bhavan's, who appeared for CAT this year, says, "I think it's rather foolish to ask students to stop discussing questions with their peers.

People can always go online, refer the test with any other name and start online discussions. No one would even know who did it. Imposing such rules takes the focus away from the real issues."

Deepshika Joshi, another CAT applicant, agrees. "Just how do the IIMs plan to keep a check on offenders?" she asks, adding, "The nondisclosure agreement will not deter test takers from discussing the paper and it will be practically impossible to track down those who break the rule."

While those like Anisha, a B.Com student from Lady Shri Ram, New Delhi, believe that "IIMs will have a mechanism in place to keep a tab on offenders..."

others who are willing to abide by the new norm, are worried about the repercussions it will have on them if the "agreement" is breached by a few. "The disclaimer may be a good move and I have vowed to respect the IIMs' decision to impose this rule. However, it's impossible to get everyone to abide by it," says Anusha Reddy, a student of VRES, Nizamabad.

Coaching centres too aren't happy with the nondisclosure agreement and express their doubts about the "uniformity of difficulty level in all the tests".

"All along, coaching centres have played the role of a watchdog. We are the ones who informed the IIMs about errors in the CAT papers, which they would verify and accept. There's no scope for this now, since students are not allowed to disclose questions. Also, there's no way one can determine if the difficulty levels are uniform in all the tests. There is a need for more transparency. People are very cautious about what they say about the test now," says a spokesperson from T.I.M.E, on condition of anonymity. 

Source : Deccan Chronicle

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