Not long after ruling that the Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) will be the only gateway to government-quota seats in management institutes across the country, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), which conducts the test, has left it to the State government to decide on the issue.

On whether the government could go ahead and conduct its Postgraduate Common Entrance Test (PGCET) this time, S.S. Mantha, Chairman, AICTE, told The Hindu on Wednesday: “It is up to the State government to take a call.”

The AICTE’s stance puts the onus on the State government to come to the rescue of management seat aspirants, who, like medical seat aspirants, are being forced to take up many entrance exams. With questions being raised over the validity of the CMAT, as a Supreme Court order puts management education out of the purview of the AICTE, students and college managements are in a tizzy.

Meanwhile, representatives from the Karnataka Private Post Graduate Colleges Association (KPPGCA), which has 169 member institutions, met Higher Education Minister R.V. Deshpande on Wednesday. “If the PGCET is conducted, we are ready to give the usual 50 per cent seats to the government,” said association secretary M. Prakash.

Mr. Deshpande is learnt to have told them that he had just received a file on the matter and a decision would be taken in a week.

Government’s plans

However, sources in the higher education department insist that the likelihood of a PGCET being held for MBA is bleak, though a test will be held for MCA and M.Tech admissions. “The general trend is that 70 per cent applicants in PGCET are for MBA, 30 per cent for MCA. But the government will also consider the fact that those students who wrote the CMAT would be at disadvantage if they had to write PGCET again.”

Government estimates put the number of takers for CMAT-2 and 3 to be around 10,000 only. Last year, around 17,000 students took PGCET.

Colleges, students unsure

Predictably, the students and college managements are the worst affected. Students like Lakshmi V. have written the CMAT, and Management Aptitude Test (MAT), and is also going to write the Karnataka Management Aptitude Test (KMAT). “I wrote CMAT-3 in the middle of my university exams; plus there was negative marking in CMAT. I am not sure what scores I’ll get, so I’m writing most entrance exams,” she said.

S. Nagendra, Dean, Management Studies, BMS College of Engineering, said the college management was seeking clarity from the government. “Ideally, the PGCET should be conducted at least this year as very few students have taken the CMAT. If 50 per cent government-quota seats are not filled, we will have to begin filling them under management-quota.”

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