IT companies to calibrate scores with students’ performance in individual tests; colleges unhappy

It will take more than ‘just one written test and an interview’ to get into an IT company from now on.

Major recruiters including TCS, Cognizant, Wipro, Accenture and HCL among others, have insisted that students who want to be recruited, take the Assessment of Competence-Technology (NAC-Tech), conducted by NASSCOM a consortium of IT companies, from this year onwards. The companies will ‘calibrate the scores’ with the student’s performance in the individual tests.

“For two years we have been contemplating a test that will be an industry benchmark. Students will not have to take the test of every single company. This year, we will have the NAC-Tech and also our own test to determine the co-relation. This is to eventually make NAC-Tech the only test," said S. Viswanathan, HR (Country Head), Wipro.

The move is intended to create a quality pool of engineering graduates from which the companies can choose. “The test has been put together by companies that are responsible for 90 per cent of campus placements in the industry and it will help us get the best students," said K. Purushottaman, regional director, NASSCOM.

While many colleges say they will agree to the proposal, they admit they will have to do so because there is no way out. “Only companies such as IBM and Capgemini have not agreed to the test. Major recruiters want it,” said the placement director of a city self-financing college.

A student can re-appear for the NAC-Tech only after a month, which could lead to his losing out on interviews with other companies. It will also add to the stress among students to perform, say college principals.

Some colleges feel that companies, by pushing for the test, are shifting their training costs on to college managements and students. “Students will have to pay over Rs. 250 for the test and the college will have to spend at least Rs. 1,250 to train every student. Why should the college or student pay for this?” asked one principal.

The fact that the placement officers were not consulted has also upset colleges. “The test is not compulsory but we have already received mails from companies asking us to implement the test. The decision was taken by the companies and we were not even called for deliberations,” said a placement officer.

Officials of several educational institutions, including Anna University have said that internal discussions are on to decide on what to do next. Why NASSCOM was not conducting the test but asking vendors to do so, what the credibility of the test was, and did it guarantee placement, is what most colleges are concerned about.

Company officials on the other hand, say the test will be no different from the aptitude tests of many companies and that there is almost no extra expenditure that the college has to incur. A part of the exam will test the candidate on verbal ability, analytical skills and reading comprehension while another part will have questions on the engineering subjects he specialises in. “We as companies, want the best,” a company official said.

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Vasudha VenugopalJune 28, 2012

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