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Error free online assessment system?

Mumbai University will once again adopt the online assessment system for the winter semester exams despite facing severe technical hardships earlier. Officials have claimed that they are better prepared this time to identify technical glitches and rectified past mistakes. Additional manpower has been deployed and training has been imparted to personnel for evaluation of 452 winter examinations. Even though the university is going ahead with the online assessment system, students are worried whether results will be declared on time. Earlier students had to undergo severe hardships due to delay in declaration of results. Many of them had paid fees for seeking admission in colleges but were unable to produce their marksheet and passing certificates.

The erstwhile vice-chancellor of Mumbai University, Sanjay Deshmukh had received flak for implementing the digital assessment system without doing any groundwork. The state government too had asked Deshmukh to implement online assessment system in a phased manner but he nonetheless went ahead with the implementation process which resulted into chaos. Later Deshmukh was asked to quit. As per the Maharashtra Universities Act, 1994, results must be declared within 30-45 days from the concluding date of the examinations.

The winter examination would have 452 exams, with 481 full-time programmes and 604 part-time programmes. BA and BSc exams will commence from November 8 and law students will appear for papers from November 13. Exams for BCom and Engineering students will start from November 20. Over 4,10,449 students will appear for papers.

Kiran Sawant, NCP Mumbai University President said, “The University should declare pending results first. As a result of this, students have been unable to fill ATKT forms. Students are facing difficulties due to online assessment system and they have lost confidence in it.”

Sandesh Wagh, History Professor, Mumbai University said, “Sanjay Deshmukh is responsible for the online assessment mess. The Mumbai University must cancel the contract signed with MeritTrac company. We are still not prepared for online assessment system. The university has failed to declare results on time and several answer papers have been misplaced. Therefore, it is not right to award contract to the same company. What is the guarantee that same mistakes won’t occur this time too?”

Santosh More, a Mumbai University student said, “Online assessment system is good but at the same time several loopholes are prevalent in it. People still remain unaware about the online process. Whenever students inquire with colleges about the admission procedure and results they ask them to go online. According to me both online and offline process should be available. Even though Second Year Bcom exams are scheduled to begin on November 10 but its timetable is not available online.”

Niyoti Yelve, a Mumbai University MA student said, “Online assessment is a difficult process. Many times students are unable to upload their photos and find it difficult to make payments. As a result of this their academic year go waste. Offline process is better. The online system was introduced in a haste and colleges were not prepared for it therefore students had to face hardships. Online system is not accessible for everyone as some students have to visit cyber cafes to fill forms.”

Mumbai BJP President Ashish Shelar said, “Whatever happened was wrong. The Government had introduced the online evaluation system in haste without researching on possible technological glitches. The state Education Minister Vinod Tawde also had issued a statement in this regard in the Assembly. We will be more prepared for next academic year and I am hopeful to avoid such repetitions in future.”

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