Tuesday, December 1, 2009

#28 CATastrophe

A complete wtf situation. CAT decides to go online, outsourcing the process to Prometric for a hefty $ 40 mn. Prometric is known to conduct the online exams GRE and GMAT for years now and since CAT is touted as one of the toughest and sought after entrance exams, going online to save on the paperwork and provide flexibility to students to appear per their will felt like a good decision. Only until the C-day.
Servers crashing, exams cancelling and mismanagement on the first day created chaos everywhere. I can only imagine the extent of inconvenience and trouble the examinees might have gone through, but refrained from jumping right onto conclusions and censuring the process simply because I felt this was the first time and certain hiccups were bound to be confronted with when one tries to introduce something new. But four days on and more than 7500 students unable to take their exam is extremely vexing. Instead of owning up or trying to provide some respite to already frantic junta, the authorities have been displaying utterly irresponsible behaviour with all possible weird explainations. Latest being virus attack .. Virus attack !! How could a virus possibly communicate with the computers, since it’s a Computer Based Test connected to a local server and not ‘online’ in the real sense. ( Or am I an ignorant here to have not understood the virus-deal? )
Leaving the technical snags aside, how does one explain the negligence and incompetence shown by the invigilators in the centres, talking shamelessly on their cellphones while some students suffer near heart attacks on failing to take the test and others desperately trying to concentrate on their tests through the mayhem. Also Prometric failing to make a dry-run of the CBTs well in advance to ensure the fool-proof performance (saving them the mockery they have made of themselves now). Din’t they announce that they were well prepared and had ‘strategies’ for, like they said, ‘terrorist attacks’ and ‘natural calamities’ ? These people really have a nice sense of humour I must admit.

Amidst the usual failure on part of the authorities to account for the faults and our dear ministry keeping a convenient mum over the matter ( yea, how come none of the politicians have come forward and blamed the other parties or our favourite “ foreign hands” !! ), the real sufferers are the lakhs of aspirants whose careers are at stake. I’ve seen some of my own friends taking CAT to be their life’s ulterior motive and who have turned nearly insane during the rigorous preparation. They were already showing symptoms of dementia ranging of frequent tempramental outbursts to anorexia to blackouts to insomnia as their test date was approaching. I just hope they don’t get a nervous breakdown if their computer screen suddenly refuses to load questions for them !
Its very unfortunate to see such a farsighted initiative landing in a fiasco. And its more unfortunate to see the way these people aren’t even able to manage the situation properly ! Weren’t they supposed to be the management gurus?
Announcement of CAT going online next year too is what gives me the jitters now, since I am also supposed to ( until I change my mind which I think I should contemplate) sit for the exam.


Jaunty anima said...

Thank God!!I'm not in this CAT race!!
But one thing's not at all understandable in this situation...Why so much delay in getting the whole mess in order..technical snags are bound to happen..after all it's a machine...but they were never ready to counter it..n look at the lame excuses coming from everyone including Kapil Sibal!!

vAnDaNa sLaThIa said...


zuko said...

An apt description of an utter systematic failure.

This shows there should be well tested and proven test procedure for CAT, rather than experiments like this one.