FMS students and faculty protest as DU turns to CAT
The FMS entrance examination was scrapped to make way for the common admission test.
The 70,000-odd students, faculty members, administrative staff and alumni of the New Delhi-based Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) have opposed the Delhi University (DU) move to scrap the institute's own entrance test, and instead switch to the Common Admission Test (CAT).
FMS used to conduct its own entrance test for the MBA and PhD programmes every year.
The members were agitated because the decision to join the non-IIM B-schools in accepting CAT scores was taken at the last moment and the brochures for this year's December 4 exams were ready for sale. DU, which represents FMS, has meanwhile approached the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) for accepting CAT scores a test promoted by the IIMs.
In a letter sent by DU on August 25, the university said it would be unable to conduct the FMS entrance exam this year. According to the letter, the university is "severely strained by the burden of the exams conducted, on a national level by other departments." With DU moving from the annual exams pattern to the semester system, the university felt it was short of manpower to conduct the exam.
Confirming the move by FMS, Janakiraman Moorthy, Convenor of CAT 2011 and faculty member at IIM Calcutta (IIM-C) said: "Yes, FMS has approached us for accepting CAT scores. While the procedure is pending, a decision is most likely to be arrived at within this week."
According to FMS sources, cost was not an issue as the Delhi University was earning from the sale of forms. On its part, the university declined to comment on the concerns of the faculty members and students.
However, a student speaking on the condition of anonymity, said: "DU is not ready to explore options. It can possibly postpone the exam this year, if it intends to and can outsource the FMS entrance exam from next year as IIMs do. DU is simply shifting its burden to CAT."
According to FMS faculty, the move will primarily dilute the brand. "FMS will become just one among many colleges enrolled with CAT. The pattern of FMS entrance test was very different from the CAT exam giving more focus on verbal ability and is a speed-based test. Joining CAT would actually not serve our purpose in taking the kind of candidates we want," said a faculty member.
FMS students also feel this will dent the institute's brand image.They are gathering online support of their alumni through social media platforms and online petitions.
The FMS decision to accept CAT scores comes at a time when the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have also decided to do away wih the Joint Management Entrance Test (JMET) in favour of CAT. The decade-old entrance exam for the business schools run by the IITs and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), has given way to the CAT promoted by the IIMs.
The move by the Delhi University may be in consonance with HRD Minister Kapil Sibal's directive of replacing multiple exams of one type with one exam to save time and effort.
According to the minutes of the meeting held by the FMS faculty on Monday, the decision to replace the FMS exam with CAT was taken up owing to the university's expressed inability to help conduct the test.
If the FMS joins CAT, the university will have to shell out a one-time registration fee of Rs 50,000 and an annual fee of Rs 2 lakh in addition to Rs 200 per candidate to obtain the CAT scores.
Last year 66,000 students had taken the FMS entrance test.
Image: Delhi University's decision to opt for CAT sparks protest from DU students and faculty members
Photographs: Illustration: Dominic Xavier