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CAT goes international; 2011 in Sri Lanka

CAT goes international
In its first attempt to go international and provide competition to the global GMAT exam, Common Admission Tests (CAT) will cross shores and conduct its first international exam in Sri Lanka in 2011.

Apparently, other Asian countries like Nepal and some in the Middle East have also evinced a similar interest.

Speaking to, Himanshu Rai, Convener of CAT-2010 said, that while with Sri Lanka, the plan is in place, with other countries, there have been talks.

"Whenever I visit b-schools in countries like Nepal and those in the Middle East, they always show interest towards our institutes and exams. Most admissions there are through GMAT. They want to start CAT as well," said Prof Rai.

The CAT exam in Sri Lanka, will be held for students based in Sri Lanka and for admission to Lankan B-schools only.

Prof Rai confirmed that the exams will not be held for Sri Lankan students to gain admission to Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) and other colleges here.When asked why Sri Lanka had asked for CAT, whether the entrance exams in Sri Lanka were not of a high quality, Prof Rai replied that he was not in a position to comment on the quality of the local exams there. “I know that our exams are the toughest and best in quality."

When asked how conducting CAT exams abroad would help the lot of IIMs in India, Prof Rai said there is much to learn from the education processes abroad.

“When we start conducting exams abroad, we will not only get international exposure but we will also learn from technologies being used in those countries. There is a lot to know about educational practices employed there."

Prof Rai added that he is always asked by officials in B schools in the middle east and Nepal to conduct management development programmes for its students and open institutes there, which shows that they hold our education programmes in high esteem.

The decision to hold CAT exams abroad has come at a critical juncture when CAT applicants are showing a downward trend. Last year about 2.40 lakh students gave their test exams. This year, the figure plummeted to 2.06 lakh applicants. The general consensus is that students are shifting to the more international GMAT and GRE exams.

Prof Rai. admitted that the move to hold CAT abroad is definitely to get exposure like the GRE and GMAT exams.

“Not only are our exams tough but they are best in content," he said.

Like in India, the CAT exams in Sri Lanka will also be held online.

Resources and support staff for Sri Lanka will be handled by Prometic, which is the testing partner for CAT in India under a five-year contract. Prometric confirmed this development to Pagalguy and said that it would partner the IIMs in their expansion programme. In India, more than 150 b-schools entertain the CAT exams.

The move to export CAT has come in the wake of the HRD ministry"s mission to grant more autonomy to IIMs.

Some of the measures discuss so far, include full powers to the Boards of IIMs to create posts within the approved norms, freedom to open centres in India and abroad and amend rules of the IIMs within the framework of Memorandum of Association and Rules.

The other privileges also include providing IIMs the power to acquire and dispose property not fully or partially funded by the Ministry of HRD, powers to approve their own budget, and also to manage the funds generated by the IIMs on their own.

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