IRMA puts up a fight to retain its own entrance exam

The Institute of Rural Management, Anand, (IRMA) in Gujarat has filed a writ petition against the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in relation to the now famous court case concering the permitted MBA entrance exams. IRMA is fighting to retain its own entrance exam and not take any of the five exams as stipulated by the AICTE and the subsequent court verdict.

The writ petition which was filed in the Supreme Court earlier this month is going to come up for hearing in the last week on October. However, even before the hearing, IRMA has already declared on its website that it will not take the scores of any other exam.

The five exams include the Common Admission Test (CAT), Xavier Admission Test (XAT), Common Management Admission Test (CMAT which has replaced the Common Entrance Test in most states), AIMS Test for Management Admissions (ATMA) and Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT which (technically) replaced Joint Management Entrance Test).

Post the AICTE notification and the two-year court battle, institutes like the Faculty of Management Studies and the management wing of the Indian Institute of Technology switched to the CAT exam. Mudra Institute of Communication (MICA), on the other hand, tried hard to retain just its own entrance exam MICAT but finally had to accept one of the five exams as an additional component.

IRMA however decided to stick to its position.

According to officials at IRMA, the institute has been using its own entrance exam for admission ever since it began operations in 1979. “This exam helps us admit the kind of student the programme needs. The five admission tests designated by the AICTE cannot help us in this purpose. Yes, even the IRMA exam has Quant but we also check for other qualities which tell us whether the applicant is in tune with the IRMA thinking.”

The spokesperson added that even the GDs are styled in a way that check whether applicants are open to working for the rural and co-operative cause either in a rural setting or urban. “We can’t take an exam like CMAT and take in people from a general counselling pool. Our pool has to be dedicated.”

IRMA, when established, hoped to groom and provide professional managerial support to Operations Flood implemented by the National Dairy Development Board. It was felt then that those who apply to the Indian Institutes of Management and other business schools would shy away from working for the co-operative sector and rural causes. This bent of mind exists, in many ways, even today.

As per IRMA’s website, the Admission Test will be conducted on November 11, 2012 as previously announced and across 27 centers across India.

The written test will be of 200 marks, comprising four sections: analytical reasoning (60 marks), quantitative ability (50 marks), English comprehension (50 marks), and issues of social concern (40 marks).

The website further states that admissions for 2013-15 batch will be a compilation of three separate qualifying procedures. IRMA results would be an aggregate of the written exam, interview and presentation of an essay.

Incidentally, IRMA’s test scores are additionally used by other institutes such as the rural management programme of the Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar (XIMB), Institute of Rural Management (IRM), Jaipur, KIIT School of Rural Management, Bhubaneswar and Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDI), Gandhinagar.

Much will depend on what the court decides at the end of the month. If the verdict does go in favour of the institute, it would be interesting to see what other institutes which have/had their own entrance exams do.