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Tip of CLAT 2018 iceberg keeps growing: At least 1,800 students have serious complaints [UPDATE-1]

CLAT 2018: It might soon become easier to ask who did not have problems...
CLAT 2018: It might soon become easier to ask who did not have problems...

The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2018 was almost a complete debacle it is now emerging with students at 243 out of 260 total exam centres reporting snags and glitches so far, as research by Law School 101 revealed, as also reported by Lawctopus. This is contrary to convenor Nuals Kochi’s claims that we reported yesterday that 98.5% of the test centres were glitch-free.

According to responses to a Google form published online by Law School 101, which is a free online education portal run by Nalsar Hyderabad alumnus Vennela Krishna, 1,447 candidates at this time claim they have been adversely affected by technical glitches at 243 CLAT 2018 centres across India.

Update 16 May 2018, 11:19: The number of complaints in the Google Form now stands at 1,855, or around 3% of CLAT takers.

“Shortly after the CLAT 2018 finished yesterday, I received numerous complaints from my students pointing out that their systems shut down or their screen froze repeatedly during the exam,” explained Krishna. “To understand the extent of these issues, I started a survey to gather complaints.”

The survey form can be accessed here.

“I expected a handful of students to fill the survey,” noted Krishna, but yesterday there had been “1,011 responses from candidates all over India, outlining different issues that they faced with the exam”, which has grown to more than 1,400 today.

The full list of centres have been published by Lawctopus.

Some of the most common issues, as highlighted by responses to Law School 101’s Google form, which Krishna published first at blog Youth Ki Awaaz were:

The most frequent issue that seems to have been felt by hundreds of students is that the questions did not get displayed on their screen at 3:00 PM, when the exam was supposed to start, and they faced around five to ten minutes of delay before the first question showed up.

In other cases, when the screen opened, the questions or the options were missing or were still encrypted and did not display properly.

Another widespread issue had been that the systems provided to candidates repeatedly hanged or shut down, or the screen froze, all while the timer counted down their time.

All of this resulted in delays and loss of time, in an exam where attempting all 200 questions is difficult even with the two hours utilised completely.

Krishna wrote further:

Additionally, another serious issue has been that of corrupt hardware, such as malfunctioning mouses and monitor screens.

Other complaints that have been heard relate to bad infrastructure – many centres did not provide proper chairs to candidates and made them write the exam in the heat without switching on the AC or the fans, nor did they provide them with water in the mid-May heat.

Many candidates also complained of ill-behaved and unhelpful staff at the centres, who in addition to causing delays themselves, also went on to pick fights with students while the exam was going on!

But perhaps the most serious complaint raised so far is that of improper invigilation. Stories are being shared of multiple centres in the country where the invigilators walked out of the room or simply allowed the candidates to talk and discuss questions amongst themselves.

In other cases, where the computers stopped working, or the screen froze in the middle of the test, the centre staff scuttled about helplessly, while the candidates were allowed to have a discussion about the questions they attempted so far.

Krishna has also shared with us recorded videos from candidates who claimed they ended up wasting precious time arguing with invigilators over these glitches at the test centres.

Nuals Kochi vice chancellor Prof Rose Varghese did not respond to our call for comment today.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing a petition by academic Shamnad Basheer, trying to reform the CLAT system, which has been dogged by successive NLU convenors reinventing the wheel every year (and usually failing somewhere along the complex process).

NLUs have been loathe to institute reform, since all share revenues from the process (with the rotating convenor each year getting the lion’s share).

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