ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Deepening Crisis of Governance in University of Mumbai

The arbitrary decision and flawed implementation of the transition to the On-screen Marking System in the University of Mumbai has jeopardised the futures of lakhs of students due to inordinate delays and discrepancies in examination results. This is one in a series of instances where established norms and statutes have been set aside in the university to cultivate an undemocratic, non-transparent and unaccountable coterie culture under the garb of structural reforms.

The author is grateful to Tapati Mukhopadhyay for her valuable inputs.

The University of Mumbai, today, faces a crisis of credibility that is unparalleled in its 160-year-old history. The results of majority of the 4.5 lakh students, who appeared for their final-year undergraduate and postgraduate examinations in March–April 2017, were delayed for a long period. As per rules, the result of every examination ought to be declared within 45 days of its completion. The delay in results declaration hit students of all faculties, mainly the arts, science and commerce streams, which together enrol about 65% of the total students.

The cause of this delay is the highly mismanaged transition to the On-screen Marking System (OSM), also known as online assessment, imposed without preparation by the university authorities in these examinations. The former Central Assessment Programme (CAP), where all examiners would assess papers in the university campus and other CAP centres, had proved to be an efficient system for timely declaration of results, for nearly three decades now. In a press conference held by the vice chancellor on 24 January 2017, one of the prime reasons cited for the switch to OSM was the reduced possibility of malpractice following the answer sheets racket that surfaced in May 2016 (Sahoo 2017). However, this is a poor justification, as this serious scam involving the tampering of engineering exam answer sheets in Mumbai had occurred despite the OSM already in place for the discipline since 2012 (Chaturvedi 2016). Thus, such malpractices are the result of lax security, not offline/online assessment, as is being suggested.

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Updated On : 18th Oct, 2017
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