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A case of ?systemic? failure

india Updated: Aug 22, 2006 01:34 IST
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THE MEERUT University scandal about class VI and class VIII students evaluating answer books of graduate, postgraduate and MBA students is being termed in academic circles as final stage of decay in the system of evaluation in State universities.

The traditional system of evaluation of answer books by sending them to a team of senior teachers selected by the Board of Studies of every university started cracking in nineties under the pressure of unprecedented growth in number of students, particularly in undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Tremendous pressure to declare results on time was yet another factor which forced universities to look for some quick ways to get the answer books evaluated. And then the system of central evaluation of copies was introduced, recalled the vice-chancellor of a State university while talking to Hindustan Times on Monday.

Under the central evaluation system, universities started inviting teachers to respective centres for evaluating copies there to save time. However, this system, which was better than the earlier one in many ways, could not be continued due to financial constraints and the universities found it difficult to meet TA/DA expenses of teachers who were provided even accommodation during their stay by the universities.

This system was later replaced by the system of sending answer books of a university to another university for evaluation but this also did not work and the system was abandoned after a few years.

And then came into existence the present system of evaluation which despite being full of loopholes has yet been ‘working’ although many an eyebrow are raised in academic circles over its authenticity and validity. However, there are quite a few universities which have not accepted this system, and still sticking to the old system of sending copies to examiners but at the same taking some help from nodal officer/coordinator to expedite the evaluation work.

The Meerut University scandal is a result of this very system in which the university gets rid of its responsibility for evaluation of answer books by giving ‘contract’ of evaluation of copies to anybody, known as nodal officer/coordinator.

And the trouble begins here. The system works well if the nodal officer/coordinator is sincere and genuine. But if he is unscrupulous, greedy and in a hurry to mint money, even if it means playing havoc with the future of thousands of students, scandals like Meerut University take place, said a senior professor of Lucknow University, who has been pro-vice-chancellor also.

Once the answer books reach the nodal officer/coordinator, he is supposed to complete the job of evaluation in a stipulated time. Some of the universities provide a list of examiners also ‘expecting’ that the answer books would only be evaluated by them while most universities now give a free hand to the nodal officer/coordinator to get the copies evaluated by anybody and this is what exactly happened in the case of Meerut University.

The nodal officer/coordinator appointed by Meerut University got the copies evaluated by Class VI and Class VIII students who told the police that their criteria for giving marks were neat handwriting, good diagrams and length of the answers.