THE MAHARASHTRA department of Information and Technology has found that the University of Mumbai was not prepared to switch to the onscreen assessment system. In a report submitted to the Governor’s office and the education department, the IT department has made its observations on what led to the unprecedented delay in declaration of results.
In the report, the department has said the new system was implemented in a hurry and that the university was not equipped for a change of such proportion, said an official, who did not wish to be named. Neither the university had enough infrastructure, nor the evaluators received enough training, the official said.
When Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Governor and MU Chancellor, stepped in to streamline the assessment process, following a delay in results, the Department of Higher and Technical Education sought help of the IT department.
“Representatives of the IT department had been a part of the meetings held with university officials on the matter. They also visited the Exam House in Kalina. Thereafter, the department submitted a report of the observations of the representatives,” said the official, adding the primary inference from the findings was that the decision to adopt a new process was taken in haste.
In January this year, Vice-Chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh had announced that all answersheets would be assessed online. However, the university could not appoint an agency to help with the implementation in time. An agency was finally appointed on April 27, meaning paper assessment, which usually begins three days after the exams, was delayed by more than a month this year.
Rao, too, had raised concerns over the delay in appointment of an agency. At least a week before the university appointed the agency that eventually implemented the new system, the chancellor’s office wrote to Deshmukh highlighting the possibility of a delay on account of the ambitious new idea. The red-flag was, however, ignored as MU went ahead with the plan — a decision that later affected the fate of over 4.7 lakh students who took their final semester exams in April and May this year.
Deshmukh has faced widespread criticism for implementing the system at the eleventh hour. The issue of delay in results was raised in the Legislative Assembly with the Opposition seeking resignation of Deshmukh and Education Minister Vinod Tawde. Deshmukh was then sent on a forced leave and the V-C of Shivaji University Devanand Shinde appointed as the acting V-C. While Deshmukh continues to be on leave, sources said he had been asked to resign. Now, he also faces the risk of dismissal. Deshmukh was not available for a comment.