THE UNIVERSITY of Mumbai has asked all affiliated colleges to update information of first year students on the Maharashtra Knowledge Centre Limited (MKCL) site, three months after it hired a private firm to conduct admissions and prepare the database of students. The work done by Exxon Automation Pvt Ltd will be duplicated by colleges owing to ‘software compatibility issues’. The database prepared by Exxon was reportedly not compatible with that of MKCL, which is to handle the pre-examination and examination process. “The examination process has to be started by MKCL and there were software compatibility issues. So we asked the colleges to re-enter the data on MKCL’s website,” said Registrar MA Khan.
He said enrolment number was a major reason for the fallout between the two agencies— MKCL worked with a 16-digit enrolment number for each candidate and Exxon had proposed a 12-digit enrolment number. Representatives of Exxon, however, said the database had been provided to MKCL in several formats and compatibility could not have been an issue.
“We had to prepare the database and share it with MKCL so they could start the examination process. We provided them data of around 3.7 lakh students in whichever format MKCL wanted,” said Prasad Bandivdekar, Director of Exxon. He said the data was provided in text format, too, which could have been imported into any software.
“The enrolment number could not have been an issue because we haven’t generated the numbers yet. We had only proposed to remove four digits not relevant to the university or the student,” said Bandivdekar, who said Exxon could have generated a 12-digit enrolment number to which MKCL would add its University code. An MKCL official, however, refused to comment.
Student database has been the bone of contention between the university and MKCL since 2007. The university does not have a back up of student database and has been continuing with MKCL’s services in the examination process this year despite flaws in the pre-examination process earlier. University officials said the database handed over by MKCL earlier was not in a ‘readable format.’ The database of new students will be available with MKCL. Meanwhile, the university has not yet been able to float tenders for appointment of an agency to handle the examination process. In July, it handed over contract for admissions to Exxon in accordance with a government ordinance but the process is yet to be followed for examination process. Khan said the request for proposal was ready and was being checked by stakeholders.