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Autonomy of IIMs at stake

The continued failure of the CAT online examination has made it necessary for the GOI to order an enquiry. If the enquiry is held fairly, it is more or less certain that IIM Administration along with Prometric would be held to be at fault on various grounds. The surfeit of criticisms appearing on the press also indicate that the possibilities of Courts taking a strong adverse view of CAT-2009 is very high.

Under the circumstances, as a premier management institution, IIM has do display its ability to drive through a crisis. As we often say, “The character of a person is displayed not when he falls down but when he gets up”. Now it is time for IIMs to display this character which should reflect admission of its fault in not conducting a dry run, not consulting IS specialists, and not having a backup plan.

My sincere request to IIMs is not to stand on false prestige, not to spend time on blaming others but to act and act now without any further delay.

The decision can only be one. Scrap CAT 2009 now and prepare for a manual test to be conducted at a short time. I udnerstand that they may need a time of 30 to 45 days to conduct the test again. But this is absolutely necessary to show to the Government that “while we admit a failure, we are capable of making corrections” .

At the same time, it is necessary for Prometric to absorb all the costs of the re-test. Prometric is at fault in not using sanitized machines for the test and also for not conducting a dry run of its own. Its failure to force a dry run only means that they were not professional or wanted to cut costs. All their so called reputation has gone for a toss. An Indian company would have done far better than this US based company and they also need to admit their fault.

If Prometric fails to voluntarily pick up the cost of running the manual test and compensate the IIMs for the financial loss, IIMs should launch a legal action on Prometric and claim compensation not only for the non delivery of services but also for the cost of running the manual re-test and for causing a reputation loss to the IIMs.

If IIMs donot take this tough stand, it would provide a good excuse for GOI to say that “IIMs are inefficient in their administration and they need to pass on the responsibilities to bureaucrats”. Are they ready for this kind of development?


December 1 ,2009

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