The University of Mumbai (MU) may not be able to implement its plan to set question papers and prepare exam schedules for all courses starting this year. As of now, authorities have decided to implement this feature only for traditional courses such as BCom, BSc and BA.
The move comes barely three months after the varsity decided to introduce a common exam system to ensure that the credit system functions effectively. The academic council had decided to not only bring out a common exam schedule for colleges affiliated with MU, but also set a common paper for all courses.
“The idea to introduce a common question paper was to bring about uniformity in colleges. As of now, we will focus on traditional courses which have the maximum number of students,” said M A Khan, registrar of MU. He added that for the time being, committees have been set up by the varsity to put together question papers and decide on a common exam schedule for all six semesters of BCom, BSc and BA examinations that will be held sometime in October. “The academic council has decided that in the first year, the focus should be on courses which have a large number of students. Next year onwards, all courses can be considered for a common examination process,” he added.
Officials are still not ready to confirm whether colleges will be allowed to set their own question papers and schedules for other self-financed courses such as Bachelors in Management Studies (BMS), Bachelors in Mass Media (BMM), BCom in Accounting and Finance (BAF), and others.
“When the university decided to have a common examination schedule, it obviously didn’t account for the fact that most colleges work in shifts to accommodate all the students studying in various departments. It is not possible for a college to hold an exam for all its students in one go,” said the principal of a suburban college.
Many principals were happy with not having to follow the university schedule as well as a common exam paper for first and second year students as well. “Third year exams are already conducted by the university and that itself leads to many errors because MU conducts over 400 exams every semester and it gets difficult to handle lakhs of students every year. This idea of taking responsibility for more students was a wrong move in the first place,” said the BMS coordinator of a city institute.
According to a circular on the varsity website, final year (semester V and VI) examinations are slated to begin around October 25 but there is still no clear word on the common exam schedule and question papers for first and second year students. “We might ask colleges to conduct their own examinations for self-financed courses this year, but colleges should wait for a final circular before going ahead with this,” said Khan. Colleges, however, are worried about the time this process might take. “If the university doesn’t clear this soon, we’ll have no time to set question papers and an exam schedule for our students. MU authorities need to make this clear,” said Marie Fernandes, principal, St Andrew’s College, Bandra.