Vice-chancellor blamed as Mumbai university ranking drops

  • Omkar Gokhale, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Dec 12, 2014 22:21 IST

During the tenure of its embattled vice-chancellor Rajan Welukar, Mumbai University (MU) slipped from the 350-400 bracket in 2009 to the 601-650 bracket in 2013 according to QS World University Rankings. Welukar assumed the office in July 2010.

On Thursday, the Bombay High Court said that there was ‘non-application of mind’ by the search committee, while selecting Welukar as the vice-chancellor.

Former pro vice-chancellor of the university, AD Sawant, who had challenged Welukar’s appointment, said, “The university slipped to a low during his tenure, which included exam mismanagement, failure of administration and failure to fill vacant posts. The state government should restore the dignity of the university and appoint vice-chancellors according to UGC guidelines.”

The controller of examinations (CoE), who is responsible for managing exams and result process, was changed three times in just two years (2012-2014) after a series of glitches hit the exam process.

After Vilas Shinde, who assumed the post in 2008, was asked to vacate the post in January 2012, the university gave additional charge to SM Suryawanshi and Deepak Wasave, both assistant registrars in the examination house. Padma Deshmukh was appointed as exam controller in 2013. However, within a year Deshmukh, the university’s first woman CoE, quit and went back to her college as the in-charge principal. On July 2014, Dinesh Bhonde was appointed.

After mistakes in exam scheduling, hall ticket errors and question paper leaks, senate members demanded action against officials responsible and also against the Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Limited (MKCL), the agency to which the digital exam work has been outsourced.

“The VC was busy appearing in front of the court, instead of addressing university problems. He would also skip senate meetings,” said Sudhakar Tamboli, a senate member.

“The credit based semester system was introduced during his tenure. Also, the university came up with the centre for nano science and nano technology. We will soon take necessary action against MKCL if they do not take corrective steps. We will try to fill the vacant posts of teachers according to UGC directives,” said a university official.

Though Welukar is said to have initiated several projects such as the Confucius Centre, department of nano science and technology, senate members said these projects were planned before his tenure.

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