IIM director calls for conducting CAT exam in regional languages

Should the Common Admission Test (CAT), the basis for admission to top business schools including the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), be held in English alone or also in Hindi and other regional languages mentioned in Schedule VIII of the Constitution?

The director of IIM-Rohtak, Prof Dheeraj Sharma, has raised the issue with IIM-Indore, the coordinator of CAT for 2020, by suggesting that the exam be held in Indian languages as well. CAT is currently conducted in just the English language.

According to a person aware of the development who spoke on condition of anonymity, Prof Sharma has written a letter to IIM-Indore director, Prof Himanshu Rai, noting that one of the aims of the National Education Policy (NEP) is to promote learning in local languages.

Sharma, in his letter, wrote that the IIMs could take the lead by allowing students who want to do so to pursue programmes in management in any of the Schedule VII language of their choice. Sharma urged Rai to take up the issue with the core committee that oversees the conduct of the test.

When contacted, Sharma confirmed that he had written to IIM-Indore, “suggesting” that a lack of proficiency in English should not be a reason for a candidate to not pursue higher education in management .The issue should be looked into since it is also one of the key thrust areas of the NEP, he said.

Significantly, the weightage given to the CAT exam score differs from IIM to IIM. Some IIMs provide upto 60-70 percentage weightage to the score and others attach much less weight to it. More than 200,000 students take CAT every year.

Significantly, the IIM director’s letter comes at a time when the Union education ministry is looking at ways to promote higher education in Indian languages. Education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has in various meetings and speeches emphasized the need to provide higher education in Indian languages.

The languages included in Schedule VIII of the Indian Constitution are Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Maithili, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

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