The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad on Friday accepted that it hid its eligibility criteria till Common Admission Test scores were disclosed, bolstering charges of foul-play made by several CAT toppers eliminated because of hidden pre-test cut-offs. The IIM-A confession, in reply to a right to information (RTI) Act query, is likely to provide further ammunition to about 75 CAT toppers planning to file a writ petition in the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the second stage of IIM admissions. The second stage of admissions at many IIMs starts from Saturday.
These students have not been short-listed for the second stage because the IIMs either changed eligibility rules after the test or used criteria that were never disclosed before the test, as was revealed by HT on February 9. These criteria —Class X, XII and undergraduate marks — ruled out these CAT toppers from the second stage of IIM admissions despite aggregate and sectional CAT scores over the cut-offs set.
“The eligibility criteria for shortlisting candidates for Personal Interview [the second stage of admissions] were decided after publication of the CAT notice, were finalised on January 2, 2011. The date on which they were published was January 12, 2011,” the RTI Act response from Diptesh Ghosh, chairman of the IIM-A admissions panel states.
The students, who have now petitioned HRD minister Kapil Sibal, are arguing that they would never have applied for the CAT had they known they stood no chance. “Why have the IIMs wasted a year of our life, our money, time and our sacrifices,” questioned IIT Roorkee graduate Aditya Narang.
About 75 CAT toppers are planning to file a writ petition in the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the second stage of admissions at IIMA, state media reports. The candidates say they did not receive interview calls because the institute made changes in the eligibility criteria after the test was conducted. These criteria —Class X, XII and undergraduate course marks — eliminated the CAT toppers from the second stage of IIM admissions despite aggregate and sectional CAT scores being way beyond the cut-off that was set. In a telephonic interview with Tanushree Bhatia, IIMA’s admissions chairperson Diptesh Ghosh explains the procedure for shortlisting candidates for personal interview and asserts there has been no foulplay
Q: In a reply to an RTI query you have said that the eligibility criteria for shortlisting candidates for personal interview was changed on January 12, much after the test was conducted. What was the need to do so?
A. A 50 per cent in undergraduate course is only the minimum percentage required to be eligible to take CAT test. Traditionally, after the CAT test, an IIMA committee sits and decides the criteria for the next level, which is the personal interview. You have to understand that the competition is cut-throat. Suppose, we have a large pool of candidates scoring 99 percentile.
How do we select the candidates for interview? We obviously have to look at their marks in class X, XII and undergraduate course. So, we take into consideration two components to shortlist them: The academic component which is the CAT score and the application rating that looks at the class X, XII and graduation marks.
Q: Why didn’t you disclose the application rating criteria earlier?
A. CAT scores are considered for admissions to 200 institutes. Therefore, we can only set the minimum eligibility criteria for the CAT test.
The criteria for final selection of candidates will differ from institute to institute. In its CAT bulletin, IIMA had clearly mentioned that CAT is only the first level of the selection process. IIMA and other institutes set a second level of criteria after looking at the pool of candidates who have cleared CAT.
Q. But when have the students who have scored 50 per cent in undergraduate course, your eligibility criteria for CAT, ever made it to the IIMs? Why not raise the minimum percentage of marks to 70 per cent or 80 per cent?
A. Let me give you an example. Say, we set a cut-off of 70 per cent in class X, XII and undergraduate courses. Then, an MBA aspirant who has scored 68 per cent in class X, 90 per cent in class XII and 90 per cent in undergraduate course will not be eligible to take CAT.
As per the current eligibility criteria for CAT, we are allowing a candidate to compensate for less marks in class X with marks scored in class XII and undergraduate courses.
Q. Can Application Rating change every year?
A. Application rating can anddoes change every year because student profiles too keep changing.
SHORTLISTING CRITERIA FOR IIMA PERSONAL INTERVIEW
General Category : 540 candidates whose percentiles in each section were 94 and above, and who had an overall percentile of 99 and had an Application Rating of >= 21 were considered for personal interview.
NC-OBC Category: 193 NC-OBC candidates whose percentiles in each section were 84 and above and who had an overall percentile of 94 and an Application Rating of >=19 were considered for personal interview.
SC Category: 108 SC candidates whose percentiles in each section were 75 and above and who had an overall percentile of 80 and an Application Rating of >=17 were considered for personal interview.
ST Category: 55 ST candidates whose percentiles in each section were 50 and above and who had an overall percentile of 80 with an Application Rating of >= 16 were considered for personal interview.
DA Category: 21 DA candidates whose percentiles in each section were 65 and above and who had an overall percentile of 80 with an Application Rating of >=16 were considered for personal interview.
HC Issues Notices to IIMs, HRD Over Eligibility Criteria
The Delhi High Court today refused to stay the admission process in IIMs but sought a response from the Centre and the premier management schools on a plea by candidates seeking declaration of the eligibility criteria for the CAT 2010 examination.
Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued notices to Ministry of Human Resources Development along with 11 Indian Institutes of Management and directed them to file their replies by April 18.
The court passed the order on a batch of petitions filed by a group of IIMs aspirants alleging the IIMs followed different criteria and as a result the students got confused.
Seeking transparency in admission criteria of the institutes, the candidates sought a stay on the CAT 2010 examination and the entire admission process.
Appearing for the petitioners, Advocate Sumeer Sodhi and Rishabh Sancheti submitted that the views of various IIMs and the admission committee over the eligibility criteria were contradictory.
The admission committees of various IIMs said the eligibility criteria were known to the candidates as it had been published on its website, according to them. They claimed that through an RTI reply the prestigious IIM, Ahmedabad, has admitted that it was published on the date of declaration of the result.
They claimed there were students who have got more than 99 percentile but they were not called for the interview as the IIMs maintain different criteria which were disclosed to the aspirants only after the declaration of the CAT 2010 examination.
The lawyers argued some students had scored more than 99 percentile but were not called for the personal interviews on the ground that they had not scored good marks in secondary school exams.
The court has fixed April 18 as the next date of hearing the matter.