With the first semester examinations for first-year degree students in full swing, colleges have configured classrooms such that students appearing for the same subject don’t end up in the same class or on the same bench, thus reducing the chances of candidates copying. However, as subjects such as Economics, Foundation Course and Business Communication are common for different degree courses, institutes are finding it hard to form the right combinations in every classroom.
“First year students of four different self-financed courses had their Business Communications paper on Wednesday. They all got the same question paper. We had to make last-minute changes to the seating arrangement to ensure that two students appearing for the same paper did not end up on the same bench,” said the principal of a suburban college. She added that though the paper is similar across BCom in Accounting and Finance (BAF), Bachelors in Management Studies (BMS), BCom in Financial Management as well as BCom in Banking Insurance (BBI) courses with little change in the syllabus, all students getting the same question paper was unexpected.
Worse still, on Thursday students appearing for the Foundation Course paper — another subject common to these four streams — were all given identical papers. “We anticipated this, so the seating arrangement was done in a way such that the students did not end up giving the examination together. This problem would not have occurred had colleges conducted their own examinations for first year students as every department would have set a different paper,” said Nupur Mehrotra, vice principal of Mithibai College, Vile Parle.
University of Mumbai told HT this was a ‘minor’ problem. “The syllabus for different streams is similar, so the question paper turned out to be same. Colleges can easily handle this situation,” said an official from the examination department. However, colleges were angry, especially as many are facing space constraints. “We cancelled junior college lectures to conduct first year degree exams, how does the university expect us to find separate classes for these batches every day? This is unfair,” said the BMS coordinator of a Thane-based college.
Common exams a first
*This is the first time that University of Mumbai decided to conduct common examinations for first year degree students. While students will be appearing for the examination in their respective colleges and the answer booklets will be assessed by their college teachers, the question paper and schedule will be set by the university.
*Initially MU had decided to hold first year degree examinations before Diwali vacations, but colleges had objected as first year classes began late this year and colleges were unsure whether they would compete the syllabus on time. A new schedule pushed all first year degree examinations to after vacations.
*With many colleges raising concerns about conducting first year examinations as per the common timetable, MU officials invited colleges to share their concerns in order to come up with solutions