A month after the vice chancellor of University of Mumbai (MU) announced the decision to take the entire assessment process on a digital platform nothing seems to have moved in that direction. MU exams will begin in less than a month and so far no workshop has been held to train teachers in on-screen assessment, neither has any process been initiated to ensure proper infrastructure in place to conduct assessment on such a large scale.
On-screen assessment involves of scanning answer sheets and assessing the scanned copies on a computer, to avoid any tampering of answer sheets. At present, it is only applicable to the engineering section where the answer booklets are first scanned at the exam centre and then the scanned sheets are available for examiners to assess on computer, with the help of passwords shared with them.
At a press conference in January this year vice-chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh said the aim is to replicate the same process for all courses from April 2017. Apart from orientation for teachers, the university also had plans to hold workshops for the teachers who will have to assess papers as per the on-screen format this semester onwards. Repeated texts and calls to Deshmukh went unanswered.
College principals said they are also unsure if the on-screen assessment project is aimed for the current semester. “We have not yet heard from the university about any workshops for the teachers. Neither have we received any circular informing us about this new feature. There’s still no clarity if the same will be applicable this semester,” said Marie Fernandes, principal of St Andrew’s College, Bandra.
Deshmukh had also mentioned that the new examination center in MU’s Kalina campus will be equipped with enough computer sets for examiners and moderators to conduct on-screen assessment without trouble. However, this building is still under construction and there’s no hope of completion until the next four-five months.
One of the biggest difficulties that this process might face, said a principal, is the enormity of the project with more than 19.5 lakh answer booklets that will need to be scanned and checked. “On-screen assessment was easier for the engineering section because of the limited number of students and answer booklets. For all university students, not only will the scanning process be time consuming, but even assessment will be difficult for the teachers,” said the principal of a suburban college.
MA Khan, MU registrar, said, “We are trying to change the process of manual assessment to online assessment this semester itself. Work should begin soon.”