The Supreme Court has brought an end to the uncertainty in the admission process by granting an interim relief against the controversial AICTE circular. We have procured a copy of the order and after speaking to the various stakeholders, we have deconstructed the implications of the order for MBA aspirants.
What does the verdict say?
Firstly, the order is only an interim one, and applies only to admissions conducted in the ongoing season. The Supreme Court took cognizance of the fact that many MBA aspirants have already taken exams and bought forms, so the AICTE circular cannot derail admissions at this advanced stage.
The verdict states, ‘The PGDM Institutions are at liberty to draw students, who have participated in the five National Level Entrance tests or State level entrance examinations if any.’ The five tests listed are CAT, XAT, MAT, ATMA and JMET. In short, each of these tests will be accepted for admissions for this academic year (2011-13 batches) apart from any state-level tests such as the Maharashtra CET, Madhya Pradesh MAT, etc.
By the time the next admission season begins (for batches 2012-14), the Supreme Court would hopefully have given its final verdict prescribing which exams are valid.
What effect will this verdict have on the admission process?
Broadly speaking, admissions will continue as notified by b-schools at the time of selling admissions forms.
Maharashtra-based b-schools which had separately secured relief against the AICTE circular in the Bombay High Court and subsequently decided to organize an independent common admission process, are now likely to allow member b-schools to conduct independent processes.
Dr Apoorva Palkar, Director of Sinhagad Institute of Management and Computer Application and president of the Consortium of Management Education (COME) which had petitioned the Bombay High Court says The admission processes can now go on without any problems and uncertainties.
She added that they were still verifying the various aspects of the judgement so she could say anything for sure. According to her, If the judgement allows, then our consortium members may go ahead with their individual admission process, as opposed to a common one.”
What happens to admissions via GMAT for the NRI quotas?
No mention has been made of GMAT in this judgement. Used essentially by international b-schools as a qualification criterion, GMAT nowadays is also used by some Indian b-schools for their admission process, notably by XLRI Jamshedpur, Great Lakes – Chennai and SP Jain IMR Mumbai.
According to Fr E Abraham, SJ, Director of XLRI School of Business and Human Resources, We have very few people who use GMAT scores for admissions into our institution. Those who do are mostly Non Resident Indians (NRI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) students. AICTE has approved the use of GMAT as the qualifying criteria for these kind of admissions.
Prof Parimal Merchant, Admissions Director of SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR) says We are studying the judgement and are analyzing its implications on our admission process. Only after that we can say something.
Ashish Bharadwaj, Managing Director of GMAT’s India office, was out of the country and could not be reached for comment.
What does the order say about fees?
The judgement gives the management institutes the right to decide the fees for their programs, provided they notify the AICTE and their respective state government in advance.
What if the b-schools misuse their freedom?
The Supreme Court has allowed state governments to question the fees charged by a b-school via a Fee Fixation Committee. However, the Court has not made it binding on state governments to follow this.
Who will govern the b-schools, their curriculum and their admissions?
According to the judgement, the b-schools retain their autonomy. They can decide their curriculum and admission processes within the framework of the five aforementioned entrance tests. However, the Supreme Court has made provisions for one invitee each from the state government and AICTE to be on the board of governors of the private management institutes.
Commenting on this restructuring of the boards of governors, BIMTECH Noida Director Dr H Chaturvedi said, We are fine with these provisions as they will check the institutes which are profiteering and will ensure proper governance.
Are non-AICTE institutions also liable to follow these rules?
The interim order has made a mention of non-AICTE b-schools in this verdict. Says the judgment, “… the above interim order shall not be construed as permitting any institution which does not have AICTE approval, or affiliation from the affiliating authority to conduct any PGDM course or admit any student to such course.”
While the order does not explicitly say what action can be taken against such institutes, the above line appears to have been included lest non-approved institutions misuse the interim order to justify their legitimacy.
Commenting on the above sentence, Dr Chaturvedi said, I will welcome a move by AICTE against these non-affiliated institutes, as they are a serious risk to students and their careers. The Honourable Supreme Court has taken cognizance of the complaints against these institutes and has ensured that this judgement is not misused by them.
What about the students, who are seeking admissions on scores which are not among the 5?
Institutes that conduct their own admissions test such as Mudra Institute of Communications. Ahmedabad are still studying the judgment and have refused to comment. We will update you on this one at the earliest.
Dr SS Mantha, AICTE Chairman, refused to comment on the judgment as he had not received a formal copy of it yet.