Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Computer skills test planned for mid-March

BANGALORE: The Computer Skills Proficiency Test (CSPT), which was introduced by the Department of Information Technology, Biotechnology, Science and Technology, will be held on March 14 and 15 in six test centres across the State.

Further plans and the name of patrons it has found in IT and software majors in the State will be disclosed next week, Vidyashankar M.N., Secretary, Department of IT, BT and Science and Technology, told The Hindu. More than a dozen IT majors have evinced interest in this programme and have come forward to fund the expenses.

“Almost all Fortune 500 companies in the State have evinced interest which is a huge deal for the programme,” he said. According to sources, out of 29 districts in the State, sponsors have agreed to fund candidates from a set of districts and the certificates issued to candidates will carry a mark of recognition from the IT giants. The programme, which was introduced in October 2007 and was scheduled to take off in January, has been delayed but has already received more than 17,000 online applications.

“The costs, including logistics applications, connections and test centres and so on, work out to around Rs. 600 for a candidate, but we will collect only a nominal amount of Rs. 50 from applicants at this introductory stage,” said Mr. Vidyashankar. The test will be held in collaboration with MeritTrac Services Private Ltd at Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, Belgaum, Hubli and Gulbarga.

The programme will not only benefit students who will get their certification from the Government of Karnataka but it will also help industries formulate a district-wise assessment of computer literacy and skill levels. “This will help companies decide where they want to set up their units in the State. Such data is usually missing and it will attract investors to Karnataka by providing them with clear district-wise statistics and helping them locate talent pools," said Mr. Vidyashankar.

Basic skills
The department has tried to rope in industry majors and is currently holding talks with several big names in the business. “The test is designed to determine basic skills which are employment-centric. It will create and document a talent pool in tier-II and tier-III cities in the State, which is what investors have their eye on,” said Madan Padaki, CEO, MeritTrac Services. Though they have not publicised the programme, most of the responses are from outside Bangalore. This is a positive sign, as that is largely our target audience, said Mr. Padaki.

Two phases
The CSPT is aimed at promoting computer literacy and providing a certification for those with basic skills. The test will be conducted in two phases – it will test the e-ail writing skills and basic skills with MS Word and MS Excel.

The department also plans to send out notifications to around 200 colleges in the State, informing them about the CSPT. Students need to send emails to apply and the result of the tests will be declared within a month.

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