Thursday, December 3, 2009

CAT going Online - A Boon or a Curse???

Well guys I know you people are fed up with the entire discussion that's going on regarding CAT going online and its problems for the past few days but I here wanna discuss it from the student point of view.Being a CAT aspirant myself I am very much disappointed by the way things are going on and its bothering me very badly as its the matter of national pride, its about IIM's . Its really unfortunate to have such technical glitches in such a prestigious exam even though the responsibility has been undertaken by technical giants like PROMETRIC and NIIT .

Before talking about the problems faced by the students I really wanna question one and all.Was CAT ready to go online? Is every student out there is aware of the technology being used?I don't think so.If that's true there wouldn't have been so many problems during engineering and medical counseling when it has gone online.This is because not every student comes from an urban area and not every student is aware of computer.Yea I agree colleges are responsible for teaching them about Internet and its uses but not every one is lucky enough to get educated in a well known institute or at least a normal institute with adequate facilities.I don't understand how a student from villages can learn about these technologies when the institutes can not assure them of proper power supply leave about computers and Internet.OK lets leave students from rural areas.Being from urban background people are still finding it difficult or stupid enough to commit mistakes, what ever you call it.For example I heard from an official at my testing site that a student has unintentionally clicked on "END REVIEW" button which ended his test in 10 mins and the poor guy has no chance of giving the test again.Yes it happened after lots of demo's before the exam and even before the test day.For various reasons I don't think CAT going online was a wise decision.It would have been if it was taken after may be 5 or 10 years down the line.

Now coming to the exam ,statistics say that among 45000 students who were supposed to take test on the first 3 days of the testing window, 8000 had faced problems.Yea that's true and PROMETRIC blames it on virus's.Cant Blame them either its a tough task to conduct an exam online on such a large scale.It wasn't like GRE where there exists few centers and lots of dates to attempt the test.It was easy then because maintenance of infrastructure and conducting tests was a task of gr8 ease than what we have in CAT.Almost 2.5 lakh students had applied for CAT this year and the testing window is very small.But in spite of having technical failures they have to be appreciated for the software, as it was far better and faster than any of those used by TIME or CL etc but unfortunately it wasn't bug free and to add to their difficulties the infrastructure provided by many colleges selected as testing sites were not up to the mark.But they should have thought about all these issues before going for an actual implementation.We have been hearing it from IIM's from couple of years that CAT's gonna go Online.Then what were they doing during these years?

What ever may be their problems but ultimately students are the victims.Already many of them are attending CAT amidst their semester exams,now though the administrators assure them of rescheduling their CAT exam,will it fit into the schedule of the students?So I hope the administrators will learn from their mistakes and would try not to repeat them next time.CAT going Online though an optimistic plan wasn't implemented well.Lets hope for the best at least the next year.But for now CAT going Online proved to be a curse for many and would have been a boon if much effort went into the planning and design stage along with proper implementation.