IIM-Rohtak Director Dheeraj Sharma suggests holding the B-school entrance examination — Common Admission Test (CAT) — in both Indian and foreign languages and also making it an international exam and conducting it multiple times a year. IIMs can create ‘CAT corporation’, he says, which can be housed in one of the Indian Institutes of Management and be chaired periodically by each of them.
Currently, the national-level exam is held only in English.
“CAT corporation can not only allow the facility of taking the test in Indian languages but also in Arabic, Persian, Sinhalese, Nepalese, Burmese, and Thai. It has the potential of becoming an international organisation that can offer the test to interested candidates multiple times a year. The score can be used by even international institutions, at least in the neighborhood of India. This can probably help in attracting international students to study management in India,” says the IIM-Rohtak Director .
Last month, Sharma had proposed to hold CAT in multiple languages, however, it is learnt that the IIMs are yet to discuss conducting the exam in regional languages. Of the nine IIMs that indianexpress.com reached out to, only three responded, saying no such discussion is on the cards.
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Chairperson of admissions at IIM-Ahmedabad, Prof MP Ram Mohan, said, “CAT is a joint exercise of a group of six IIMs. Any change, like holding the exam in regional languages, will have to be discussed with all the parties concerned while also considering capacity and competence, availability of faculty and staff at IIMs, and, importantly, how well students of other states cope up. It should be thought through and any hasty decision may not be desirable.”
Sharma, however, says conducting CAT in regional languages has the potential to improve the economy of India, especially in semi-urban and rural areas. “It is expected that future economic growth drivers in India may be in rural and semi-urban situations. An understanding of the context and regional language will be an added asset for the management graduates.”
“I believe that the English language is a skill that can be honed in the IIM system but may not necessarily be an excluding criteria for those not in possession of that skill, at least at the entry-level. To start with, CAT can be conducted in a few of the scheduled languages in addition to English, and based on the response from the applicants, more scheduled languages can be added to the examination,” the Rohtak director said.
Director, IIM-Nagpur, Bhimaraya Metri, said: “The National Education Policy focuses on enabling access to quality education and lowering entry barriers for all. Therefore, the ultimate objective should be to ensure that language does not become an obstacle in the delivery of higher education. Such removal of language-related barriers in education will further the march towards a new India.”