Agitating teachers have maintained their aggressive stand and insist that they will continue their boycott of all exam-related work regardless of the government threatening punitive action against them.
Third year Bachelor of Science (TYBSc) practicals were hit for a fourth consecutive day, with only 43 out of 84 exam centres able to successfully conduct exams for students of zoology, botany, chemistry, computer science, microbiology and biotechnology.
These exams have been disrupted since Monday, with teachers refusing to work and the university forced to cancel the tests. On Wednesday, the government had threatened to crack down on teachers through the Essential Services Maintenance Act (Esma) and cut salaries if teachers failed to report to work. But teachers have remained defiant, calling for a 'jail bharo andolan' on Friday.
"This is going to be a long-drawn out battle," said CR Sadasivan, president of the Bombay University and College Teachers' Union (Buctu). "We are ready to go to jail."
Mumbai University has written to colleges asking them to ensure that exams are held. "They will face problems if exams are not conducted," said Naresh Chandra, pro vice chancellor of the university.
Teachers' unions said they were upset with the way the government is handling matters and said they should be invited for talks. Unions from across the state have been making various demands, including paying arrears and making appointments, among other things, for more than a year now. Government assurances have not convinced teachers.
"The government has given the teachers an assurance about some demands, but we are still facing problems while conducting exams," said DG Wasave, controller of exams. "Alternative dates for those who have not been able to give their exams will be announced in a day or two."
Once again, university officials have maintained that the exams will continue as planned despite the problems. "It is on schedule," said Wasave.