Following complaints, SIU sets up external committee to probe SNAP 2011


Under pressure, SIU to look into SNAP 2011 fiasco

In response to the widespread student complaints against alleged mistakes and copied questions in the Symbiosis National Aptitude (SNAP) 2011 exam, authorities at Symbiosis International University (SIU) have set up an external committee to look into the matter and present its recommendations.

In order to present a fair and square decision about the concerns voiced by SNAP 2011 applicants, SIU has set up an external committee to look into the matter, which includes academicians from top institutes across the country. The committee has been provided with all the data and it has started its meetings in this regard. We are waiting for their recommendations and will decide our course of action accordingly, Lalit Kathpalia, head of Symbiosis Test Secretariat and director of Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research told PaGalGuY.

The SNAP 2011 paper has been alleged to have seven wrong questions in the quantitative aptitude (QA) and logical reasoning sections, wherein the questions either did not have the correct answer in the options or the questions themselves had insufficient data or the data was inconsistent. In addition, 25 questions have been allegedly copied from the websites of coaching institutes such as Bulls Eye (link) and Ascent Education (from this, this and this).

However, clarifying the university’s stand on the possibility of SNAP questions being copied from any coaching institute website, SIU authorities have stated that the the Internet is a wide source of information and any such question duplicacy issues are ‘coincidences’.

We have an internal committee of subject experts who have been setting the SNAP test paper for eight years. The Internet is the single largest source of information today. If a couple of SNAP questions bear similarities to questions from the question banks of some website, it does not imply that we have copied the questions from the website or have any collaboration with the coaching institute in question, Kathpalia said.

In addition, the Symbiosis website displays a letter signed by Madhu Sharma, registrar of SIU. The letter states, A prima facie investigation has not found anything wrong in the SNAP examination. Still the university administration is carefully looking into all the complaints received.

Some of the coaching institutes including T.I.M.E. have sent official letters to SIU requesting speedy action and explanation in the matter. When questioned about the universitys response to these requests, Kathpalia said, The university cannot respond to individual queries raised by coaching institutes or students for that matter. We are waiting for the external committee to come up with suggestions. The university will act according to the recommendations made by the committee.

Meanwhile, as a result of the university’s delay in providing solutions to the SNAP 2011 aspirants about the ‘disastrous’ paper setting, student agitation has reached its peak. Groups of student communities have planned street protests in various cities.

Syed Baba Fakrubdin, co-creator of the SNAP 2011 disaster students want justice page on Facebook, said, We have an online petition running in which students across the country are signing up for a protest march scheduled for December 25 in their respective cities. The biggest groups are in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad. Our intention is to make Symbiosis realise the injustice they have done to us by presenting a SNAP paper full of mistakes and questions copied from coaching institute websites. The community has 268 members with more SNAP victims joining in everyday.

Students from across the country have gone on record with the various problems faced by them while attempting the SNAP 2011 paper.

There were loads of mistakes in the paper. In the QA section, there was a question that had the same option twice. In the verbal section, there was a spelling mistake in one of the options — ‘messenger’ was spelled as ‘massanger’. English and QA sections were very easy, said Ashwin Govindankutty, an engineering graduate and SNAP 2011 aspirant from Mumbai.

One particular question from the general knowledge section is being considered the ‘biggest proof of plagiarism by SIU’. The question, Which of these countries has announced one billion US dollar aid for the reconstruction of Nalanda University? has allegedly been lifted from the Bulls Eye website, which has the same mistake in the amount that has been donated to the university (‘one million’ instead of ‘one billion’).

When asked to comment about the alleged copying of SNAP 2011 questions from the Ascent Education website, Rajesh Balasubramanian, director at Ascent Education in Chennai said, Our question banks are available for the use of faculty and students across the country. They don’t need to register with us in order to gain access to our question bank. We were not even aware that some of the questions in SNAP 2011 paper were similar to those in our bank until we got feedback from students. We do not have any tie-up with SIU.

While majority of the students complained of having wasted their time trying to solve the alleged wrong questions in the SNAP paper, students who appeared for the test at IES Bandra centre in Mumbai were given 10 extra minutes due to the alleged carelessness of the invigilators. There wasn’t any co-ordination between the invigilators. One of them allowed us to start writing the paper when the first bell rang, then someone came and said it was supposed to start after the second bell. Because of this miscommunication we got ten minutes extra than the rest of the test takers,” says Ketki Arvind Vardekar, a BSc graduate and a SNAP aspirant from the IES Bandra centre.