New Delhi, Oct. 27: The Indian Institutes of Management have shelved plans to create a separate entity for conducting the Common Admission Test because of lack of consensus and decided to carry on with outsourcing the exam to a private agency.
At a meeting last week, the B-schools decided to set up a committee to choose the agency for next year’s test as the five-year contract they have with American firm Prometric ends this year.
Sources in the human resource development ministry and the IIMs, however, said a CAT Centre was likely to be set up to coordinate the test with the private firm, which would be selected through tender.
The IIMs had in 2009 decided to outsource the entrance exam to a private firm for a limited period as the number of aspirants was increasing every year.
The institutes, prodded by some of the premier IIMs like Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Lucknow, had come up with a parallel plan to set up a not-for-profit company with the same name — CAT — for conducting the test every year after the contract with the private agency ended.
The proposed company would have conducted the test in other countries to project CAT as an alternative to the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT), the American exam accepted worldwide for admission to graduate management programmes.
The argument put forward then was that some B-schools in Europe had started accepting CAT scores to admit students. To make the test acceptable to more institutions internationally and establish it as an alternative to the GMAT, the proposed Section 25 company was to conduct the test online throughout the year and set up centres abroad to help students appear for the exam.
An organisation registered under Section 25 of the Companies Act is a not-for-profit body and any surplus it generates has to be ploughed back for its growth.
A committee headed by former IIM Bangalore director Pankaj Chandra had been formed to suggest the structure of the proposed firm and how it would function.
But last week, at the meeting IIM directors held with higher education secretary Ashok Thakur, the B-school directors said the proposed separate entity — which would have been largely made up of IIM officials — might not be able to handle the test taken by about two lakh candidates every year.
“The idea (of forming a separate entity) could not proceed further as there was no consensus among the 13 IIMs. You have to get all the IIMs on board,” said a member of the committee headed by Pankaj Chandra.
It was decided that a committee under IIM Indore director N. Ravichandran would be set up to select the next agency for conducting the test. “It (the test) will be outsourced to a private firm,” an IIM director said.
At the meeting it was also decided that the IIMs would set up a CAT Centre to supervise and coordinate the exam with the private service provider, HRD ministry sources said.
At present, one of the IIMs is given overall responsibility for such supervision and coordination.
The IIMs have scrapped their contract with M/s Web Weavers which had been managing the CAT website. Last year, the CAT results of 80 students had been tampered with.
IIM Indore, which has been given the overall charge of the test this year, is hosting the CAT website, sources in the B-school said.
The CAT exams for the 2014-15 academic session started earlier this month.