Probe on into misleading SMS, Facebook update on option entry

“Dear XXX , KEA has decided to carry forward valid options entered in CET 2013 dummy option entry to the real option entry. You may please start your option entry with the available options. Visit KEA website for more details. Best Wishes, KEA.”

This is the SMS that many government and government-quota professional seat aspirants received on June 22.

At a time when there is much anticipation surrounding the seat allotment process, this message came out of the blue to students, leaving them puzzled.

To make matters worse, around the same time, students who were assiduously following the Karnataka Examinations Authority’s (KEA) Facebook page also saw an update: “KEA has decided to carry forward valid options entered in CET-2013 Dummy Option Entry… After the arrival of seat matrix the option will be validated and all the invalid options will be removed automatically... This is to save the effort of the students while putting dummy options and save time in real option entry. Candidates verified up to 22-Jun-2013 are allowed for option entry. Visit to enter options for CET-2013.”

Utter confusion

Three days later, this update on the social networking site has been removed, after KEA officials discovered that neither was the update authorised, nor was it worded correctly. An internal inquiry has now been ordered into the incident. Similar is the case with the SMS.

The catch here is that the seat matrix has not even been announced by the State government, and the KEA cannot commence real option entry and counselling before it. The communication left students and parents in a state of confusion as they are already anxious because of the delay.

Apology from NIC

A letter from the National Informatics Centre (NIC), which provides application software to the KEA, addressed to the Administrative Officer of the KEA, offers an apology of sorts for the goof-up. The letter with the subject line “Explanation on SMS sent on June 22 encouraging students to enter options during dummy option entry”, states that the reason for the error was because the NIC was trying to “assess the IT infrastructure capabilities for real option entry.”

The letter adds: “This SMS was sent through SMS gateway without the prior approval in writing from the KEA. However, hereafter, these SMS sending facilities can be executed by the KEA through the application software available in the KEA. The inconvenience caused is highly regretted.”

The incident has also put the KEA on alert about “fake” KEA websites and pages on Facebook. KEA sources said that the entries on the social networking site would also have to be moderated as last year they found some 17,000 entries discussing ‘seat exchange’. They, however, allayed fears that the online counselling would be compromised, maintaining that it was completely foolproof.

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