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Tuesday, Nov 25, 2003

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Disappointed aspirants head home

Our Bureau

Mumbai , Nov. 24

THOUSANDS of crestfallen students aspiring to enter the famed portals of the country's IIMs boarded different trains at the Chattrapati Shivaji terminus in Mumbai on Monday to leave for their homes, with disappointment writ large on their faces.

It was only a few days ago that they had landed in Mumbai brimming with excitement and expectations, labouring through months of hard work preparing for the Common Admission Test (CAT) to gain entry into one of the six IIMs. The CAT was cancelled on Sunday after the CBI discovered that the examination papers had been leaked out as part of a nation-wide racket.

Said Ms Ambika, a student of Pilani college in Rajasthan: "I guess I would have to come back again to take the exam, whenever that will be. It would mean additional expenses, but what else can we do?" Added Mr Vishal, who had taken the exam at the Indian Education Society at Dadar: "When we first saw the paper, we were so thrilled, for it was a real easy one. You can imagine our disappointment when we learnt that it has been cancelled and we would have to take the exam again."

Indeed, the racket came as a rude shock to academic circles in the country. "I really feel for the students, most of whom came to take the exam with their parents," said Ms Manju Nichani, Principal of the reputed KC College at Nariman Point in Mumbai, where 800 students had written the exam. "The students entered the examination hall at 10.30 and began to write the paper at 11 a.m. Exactly 10 minutes later, I got an SMS that the papers had been leaked. I did not know what to do, but I did not disclose it to the students and allowed them to continue writing the test. I could see the disappointment on their faces, especially those of their parents, when they came to know that the test has been cancelled after they had all finished the exam."

Meanwhile, most of the other management institutes are planning to go ahead with their admission schedule, irrespective of when the fresh CAT would be fixed.

Said Prof. Sunil Rai, Coordinator of the PG Diploma for Business Management at the S.P. Jain Institute of Management & Research, a part of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan: "We take the CAT results as one of the selection parameters for admission. We will go ahead with our admissions, which start from January, whether or not the next CAT takes place by that time."

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