Final year students of the Bachelor of Mass Media-Journalism (BMM) course in the University of Mumbai (MU) on Saturday were given the wrong question paper during their final semester examination.
By the time the university realised the mistake, students had already spent 30-40 minutes on the paper. The examination was stopped and students were asked to wait for the new question paper. The students finally left the exam centres only at 7pm instead of 5:30pm.
Of the students appearing for the sixth semester university examinations, 848 students with journalism majors received the Business and Magazine Journalism question paper meant for repeater candidates.
“Our theory papers are supposed to be for 75 marks but what we received was a question paper for 50 marks only. We informed our invigilator right away. Almost 40 minutes after writing our paper, the college officials told us about the mistake and took away the answer sheets as well as the question papers,” said a student who was writing her test at the Patkar Varde College in Goregaon (West).
The story was the same at 13 other examination centres. The paper, which began at 3pm, was called off around 3:40pm. MU officials got the first call about the mistake from Ramnarain Ruia College in Matunga. They checked and found that the wrong set of question papers had been sent.
“Students told us the question paper, which is supposed to be for 75 marks spanning two-and-half hours, was for 50 marks and the time given was only two hours. The examination once again began at 4:10pm and lasted till about 6:45pm,” said Kiran Jatthar, vice principal of R D National College in Bandra.
Deepak Wasave, the in-charge controller of examinations, said the mistake was made by the one who set the paper. “The paper setter gave the wrong code number to question papers and sealed it. This set was picked up at random on Saturday and the code was sent to colleges.” He said the minute the MU officials gauged the problem, they sent a message to all BMM examination centres.
The message sent to the exam centres was erroneous too. Instead of Business and Magazine Journalism, the message said Business Management and Journalism.
Students, meanwhile, found it difficult to sit through the examination for more than four hours. “We were all given extra time but that does not make up for the fact that we were made to sit in confusion for some time,” said a student.
How the day unfolded
2:40pm: Exam centres (colleges) receive the code for downloading the question papers for a particular subject. They download the question papers, print them and distribute them to students
3:00pm: The examination begins despite queries from students across all centres
3:30pm: The first query from Ramnarain Ruia College reaches the office of controller of examination, MU
3:40pm: The problem is identified; Instructions are sent to all colleges to take back the previous question papers along with the answer sheets and provide students with new papers
4:00-4:10pm: Most colleges re-start the examination, and give students two and a half hours to finish their paper
In the past
February 2016: Several TYBA repeater candidates were left in utter chaos after the university made mistakes in their results. Students from different semesters got marks according to the old pattern, instead of the new credit-based system
January 2016: Several law students, who wrote their examination in November - December 2015, were surprised to find out they had failed in a paper. When they received their score cards, they found they had been erroneously marked absent on that particular day
October 2015: Colleges complained about the technical glitches leading to a delay in downloading the question paper for the fifth semester BCom examinations. Several exam centres started the examination half an hour late.