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Recidivist MU must pull up their socks

It won’t be wrong to say that if an apology is followed by an excuse or a reason, it stands for the repetition of the same mistake one just apologised for and Mumbai University (MU) has spared no effort to authenticate the saying. It seems that the University with 161 years of historical significance has reached its comatose as far as their administration and responsibilities towards students are concerned.

Adding to their list of blunders, this time the University has changed the Sociology Masters Semester III exam schedule few hours before the date of examination. But alas! They forgot to inform the examinees. Though as per the circular issued and the admit cards, the examination for the subject ‘Sociology of Religion’ was scheduled to take place on June 21 but the authority updated its website on June 19 late in the evening stating the date has been preponed to June 20. Adding to the misery of the students, when contacted, the officials specified it as a “printing mistake in the admit cards”. It appears to be doubtful whether the state government is making enough efforts to upgrade an obstacle-free academics and career for the students!

One of MU students, who appeared on Wednesday for the paper, regretted saying, “We got to know at the last minute on Tuesday evening that our last exam date got changed for the third time in a month’s time. Both the department and the office didn’t find it necessary to inform the students about the new schedule. I find it really harassing as I had to reschedule my tickets twice to go back home post exams. It’s expected that the varsity will take care of the things properly this year onwards. I took admission in MU with a lot of expectations and expected a smart administration. Unfortunately, I had just the opposite experience.”

Students’ anger and dissatisfaction with incumbent University authority get revived every year with brand new instances of faux pas. Recently, MU’s students of Bachelors of Mass Media experienced ‘a scary nightmare’ when they were served wrong papers for their final term exams. Its Law students too experienced the brunt in 2017 after the university introduced a new assessment system where a moderator has to re-check an evaluated answer script and update the revised total of a student on the assessment software. But the moderator mistakenly scores students with one-digit marks in some subjects and let 250 students marked as ‘failed’. That’s not all! Mumbai University has failed to meet its 45-day deadline to declare the third year B.Com, BA, and BSc results that were held in April. The university is still recovering from its last year’s disaster triggered by the introduction of online assessment and the subsequent glitches. The results were delayed by several months and the then vice-chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh was ousted by the Governor. The delay also affected the 2017-18 academic calendar.

On the condition of anonymity, a Mumbai University alumnus expressed, “It was scary to be a part of this university as surprises i.e. shocks can happen to you anytime. In my academic years, I found zero communication between the students and the administration whenever it was needed. With all the chaos experienced in the previous years, our exam anxiety was replaced as we were more worried about technical and admin malfunctions.”

“It’s a gratification to be a part of this university but they really need to pull their socks up to protect their reputation and give the students a flawless academic year,” he added.

And the blunder-list seems to be endless. With each passing year, the inconvenience of Mumbai University students remains constant and it’s been paid heed by none. The repeated promises of ‘action will be taken’, ‘learning from mistakes,’ and ‘rectifying them in future’ never meet the reality.

Vinod Malale, Deputy Registrar (Public Relations) of Mumbai University blamed the manual to digital transformation of the varsity administration as the reason behind such faults. He further said, “MU is managing around 800 colleges and more than 8 lakhs students, thus, 100 per cent arithmetic accuracy is impossible as we are adapting digitalisation. Mistakes took place in the past but we are trying to rectify and minimise the errors.”

What makes such reputed and trusted educational establishment go so lackadaisical towards its responsibilities for the tutees? All their assurances to fix the mess go in vain — why are they so numb to improve themselves? It’s high time that the varsity administration and the Education Ministry of Maharashtra analyse their previous mistakes before the faulty system paralyses the future of the Mumbai University.

We are aware that with one mistake, students suffer immensely. In our annual meeting we try to find out solutions to compensate the students for those errors with grace marks or additional examinations,” Malale added.

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