CAPES Examinations at CICs
Posted by egovindia on June 22, 2006
Nandita Chaudhri, NIC HQ
The North-East of India consisting of the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura, is as well known for its scenic splendor as it is for remoteness and difficult hilly terrain. The region has a large community of students, availing tutelage in all spheres, especially in computers fundamentals. Communication, especially road connectivity is sadly inadequate. Ordinarily, students have to undertake an arduous commute to the state capitals to appear in examinations. However, in the recent past, NIC has brought much needed relief in the form of online examinations using its own CAPES (Computer Aided Paperless Examination System) technology. Now students need travel only to the nearest Community Information Centre (CIC) at the block headquarters to participate in the examinations. Students and teaching institutions have hailed the initiative and look towards government to use IT to further improve educational modalities in the region.
CAPES is a multi-user Online Examination system (Internet/Web based) that is extremely user friendly (GUI based). In CAPES every student needs to have a single computer terminal / PC and should be able to use the mouse. The candidate answers the questions by clicking the mouse on one of the multiple choice answers. The questions are served from a Centralized Question bank from the database server at the NIC HQ in Delhi. The questions are picked randomly from the question bank, hence no two candidates get the same set of questions. The questions are stored in encrypted form to prevent any unauthorized access.
CAPES has recently enjoyed the patronage of DOEACC. DOEACC conduct the Course on Computer Concepts (CCC), an introduction to computers, in the North-Eastern states at their regional centers. Practical sessions are held at the nearest CICs. Select CICs have also been chosen as accreditation centers for CCC and the CIC operators conduct both theory and practical sessions using CIC infrastructure. CCC is a certificate course for which conventional examinations are held periodically. However, in the months of September, 2003 and January, 2004, a new dimension was added to the CCC programme in the North-East. On 28-29 September, 2003 and 25 January, 2004, NIC conducted on-line examinations using CAPES technology at selected CICs. Students fielded by DOEACC and the CICs as well were able to visit the nearest CIC in the local Block to take an objective exam, instead of having to travel to the regional centers in the state capitals. In Sept, 2003, a total of 150 students participated from 9 CICs. In January, 2004, 208 students appeared from 22 CICs.
The examination was conducted from NIC Hqrs. by the CAPES division. Complete technical support and co-ordination was provided by them to the CIC Operators coordinating the exam, in the form of exchange of emails, chat, telephonic support and a CAPES support website before and during the test. Respective SIOs and DIOs of NIC also contributed critically to the successful conduct of the exam. The exam was a major logistics exercise as many of the CICs are remotely located. Mock tests/Trial runs were conducted prior to the actual exam for troubleshooting. The exam was very successful and it is envisaged that on-line exams will be conducted on an ever increasing scale in the near future.