The University of Pune (UoP) Friday suspended Controller of Examination (CoE) Sampada Joshi, who was at the forefront of several reforms introduced in traditional examination and assessment system of the university for the benefit of students and other stakeholders.
UoP vice-chancellor Wasudeo Gade issued the suspension order although an inquiry panel set up for looking into complaints such as delayed results of students related to the examination department, has not yet submitted its final report.
“Sampada Joshi has been suspended based upon an interim report of the inquiry panel. There were demands from deans of different faculties for her removal. As per their complaints, Joshi was lacking in leadership qualities and had poor coordination skills. The issue of poor functioning of examination department was discussed during recently held senate meetings and the board of examination also took up related issues. Therefore, it was a unanimous demand to remove her,” Gade told reporters.
The action against Joshi, meanwhile, has sparked angry reactions from sections in academic circles, who describe her as a “clean and efficient administrator”. She had apparently became a thorn in the flesh of those who could not adapt to the online reforms and automation techniques the examination department initiated.
It has been also alleged that the suspension order of the CoE is being issued in an arbitrary manner by the university without following due procedure and contravening the principles of natural justice by not giving Joshi a fair chance to
explain her stance.
Asked whether the punishment meted out to Joshi was stern and uncalled for considering that she is not facing any corruption charges, Gade said, “There were complaints about delayed results of different examinations. Some other issues have been also associated with the examination department. Joshi has been suspended, not terminated from service. She can explain her stand during the departmental inquiry she is going to face.”
When pointed out that complaints such as delayed results are not new as such and had been recurring every year even when Joshi was not at the helm of affairs, Gade only reiterated that he has taken action based on the interim report of the inquiry panel.
Speaking with Newsline, a senior senate member questioned the manner in which action against Joshi was implemented. “Joshi was appointed CoE through an authorised selection committee of the university. The decision to remove her from the post overnight is unacceptable. The university administration should have served at least a show-casue notice to her to seek official explanation,” he said, adding that the board of examination of UoP had not passed any resolution in favour of the removal of Joshi.
A university staffer, who did not wish to be named, said an “upright and honest” official such as Joshi had to face suspension while others with serious charges against them have gone scot-free. “The UoP administration is yet to complete the departmental inquiry of staffers found involved in the latest cash-for-marks scam. The inquiry is progressing at a snail’s pace,” he said.
Popular teacher who staged a dramatic comeback
Joshi, who took charge as UoP’s Controller of Examination on May 21, 2012, had stayed away from heading the examination department for over a month almost a year ago following formidable opposition to reforms she initiated. While UoP authorities maintained that she had gone on long medical leave, she made a dramatic comeback within a few weeks. The 53-year-old Joshi was principal of Sinhagad College of Science for nearly 12-years before joining the university and had a popular reputation among students. She has been a member of a high-level government committee, headed by the secretary of the Information and Technology Department of Maharashtra, for carrying out online
reforms and automation processes in universities.