A cheating scandal or a scam is not something that is new to the Common Admission Test (CAT). It is not something new for many of India's most prestigious competitive exams. You may be surprised to know that 5 years back even the GMAT exam was under a bigger and even more perplexing cheating scandal. You can read about it here.
Exactly 10 years back, the CAT became a household exam after the Ranjit Don paper leak scandal broke out. There was a re-test in Feb 2004 because of the leak. The CAT received unprecedented coverage back then as 24x7 TV media was just becoming a rage in India and there were big pronouncements - Ranjit Don, "the man who destroyed the credibility of the IIMs". There are enough stories of paper leaks and other scandals in the Indian higher education sector.
So why is it different with the CAT ? For starters, there is even more media scrutiny on the IIMs and everything around them. Secondly, the CAT and the IIMs have established credibility over decades. Hence, everything gets magnified when something goes wrong. Corporate India and government offices are abound with stories of sexual harassment. However, anything that happens within an IIM campus becomes national news. Does this mean we should not be concerned about it? No. We must work hard to fix anything that is broken. We must work hard to re-establish credibility around an exam of such repute. But there needs to be some perspective and we need to look at all institutions in India in the backdrop of our country's social, political and economic landscape and use the same standards to judge them.
Students affected by this scandal should know that the issue has been acknowledged. Even if there was a tip-off from an anonymous source, you must know that action is being taken. If 80 students have inflated scores, they will be denied admission. This the best that can be done at this stage. As far as the issue of scores of previous years is concerned, we will only know after the probe and review is completed.
For the IIMs, it is an unfortunate incident and does dent their credibility. After all, country's premier management institutions should be doing better. Hopefully, this serves as a wake up call and the conduct of the exam will undergo a thorough review. But, we also believe that transition from a paper-pencil test to a computer test is a huge step and there will be hiccups before things settle down. There are issues with normalization even now. It is not ideal but that is how it is going to be. It is not an excuse for incompetence but harsh reality of how things work in India. It is rare to find change without teething problems.
Aspirants preparing for the CAT 2013 should not be bothered about this at all. It does not affect their future in anyway. Far too many people are wasting their energy worrying about a past event that has no consequence to their fortunes. Your focus should only be on doing your best and preparing without any distractions.
What is the CAT Scam 2013?
An anonymous tip-off alerted the CAT convener at IIM Kozhikode that the CAT scores were tampered with before being given out to non-IIM institutions. A FIR was filed after it came to light that scores of 80 students were inflated before the webpage with data was made available to non-IIM institutions for their use. A few of these 80 students have managed to get admission in prestigious non-IIM schools like FMS Delhi who use CAT scores to admit students.
You can read the notification released by the IIMs here
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