Firm IIMs hired to hold online CAT test has failure record

Prometric, the American firm conducting the Common Admission Test (CAT), is under fire for failing to conduct the first online version.

CAT, the test for admission to the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), was rescheduled at centres across the country for the second day on Sunday.

Prometric, part of the US-based Educational Testing Service (ETS), has been accused of failing to conduct online tests earlier too. In August 2008, The Guardian reported that the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority of the UK had ended its five-year contract with ETS Europe after “serious problems with the administration and marking of tests”. ETS, on its part, blamed the authority.

In December 2008, Pakistan daily The News International reported that students in Lahore “suffered due to frequent power outages and poor Internet connection while attempting a test (TOEFL) conducted by ETS”.

In India, students questioned the decision to outsource CAT to Prometric. “Why did the IIMs and the government allow a firm with a history of failures to conduct CAT?” a student who didn’t want to be named said.

Pankaj Chandra, director, IIM Bangalore, said: “This is not the right time to comment.”

On Saturday, IIM Ahmedabad director Samir Barua had said Prometric should have ensured error-free deliverance.

Since Prometric doesn’t talk directly to the media, HT got in touch with the PR agency handling it. But the agency said it hadn’t managed to get in touch with its client.