Maharashtra government report blaming Mumbai university vice-chancellor got him sacked | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Maharashtra government report blaming Mumbai university vice-chancellor got him sacked

The governor on Wednesday also appointed a search committee under Dr K Kasturirangan, space scientist and former chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), to select the new vice-chancellor for the university

mumbai Updated: Oct 26, 2017 09:33 IST
Faisal Malik
Sources said the report blamed Deshmukh for introducing the system at one go, ignoring the state’s advice to do it in phases, thus making the process chaotic
Sources said the report blamed Deshmukh for introducing the system at one go, ignoring the state’s advice to do it in phases, thus making the process chaotic(File)

The Maharashtra government’s report on Mumbai university (MU) results mess, which stated the intention behind introducing online assessment was not bad, but its implementation was poor, sealed the decision to sack vice-chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh, said sources.

The governor on Wednesday also appointed a search committee under Dr K Kasturirangan, space scientist and former chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), to select the new vice-chancellor for the university. The governor’s office also filed a caveat in the Bombay high court (HC), anticipating that Deshmukh may challenge his removal.

‘Sacking a sad incident for varsity’
  • While academicians and students supported the sacking of Mumbai university (MU) V-C Sanjay Deshmukh on Tuesday, some termed the ouster of a head of the 160-year old varsity “unjust”.
  • “It is a sad day for the MU. I hope the university recovers from this setback and marches ahead. It should try its level best to improve its image,” said Vijay Khole, who served as the university’s V-C between 2004 and 2009.
  • AD Sawant, the former pro V-C, who fought a long-drawn legal battle against Deshmukh’s predecessor Rajan Welukar, said the assessment mess is a result of political appointments of V-Cs in the state. “The search committee appointed by the government consists of a bureaucrat and a judge, as opposed to academicians, as prescribed by University Grants Commission (UGC). The assessment crisis has proved the search committee has failed to gauge the qualifications needed for a vice-chancellor.”
  • “Even if Deshmukh’s intention was right, he faltered. He should have resigned on his own. Instead, he blamed his employees and was desperate to get back to university,” he said.
  • A senior MU professor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, called the move unjust. “Three entities were involved in the assessment of papers -- the university administration, service providers and teachers. The administration’s only fault was a three-week delay in floating tenders. The service provider was responsible the technical glitches. The state should also share the blame, as it didn’t allow varsity to take any decision after July 31,” he said. MUSAB QAZI

The higher and technical education department submitted the report to governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, who is the chancellor of all universities in Maharashtra, on October 18. Taking note of the report, Rao sacked Deshmukh from his post on Tuesday.

Sources said the report blamed Deshmukh for introducing the system at one go, ignoring the state’s advice to do it in phases, thus making the process chaotic. The report also blamed Merit Trac, the firm appointed to assess the answer sheets, for not studying MU’s examination system properly. “The firm was neither technically sound, nor did it train teachers to assess the papers online…Had the planning to implement the on-screen marking (OSM) system been done in advance, the hardships suffered by students could have been avoided. It is unfortunate that around 4.5 lakh students had to suffer without any fault,” the report stated.

Deshmukh, in one of his clarifications to the governor, had demanded appointment of an unbiased committee to ascertain if the mess was an accident or a possible sabotage. The report refuted the possibility.

Meanwhile, the three-member search committee appointed by the governor will call applications from aspirants and suggest set of names to the governor after completing the selection process determined in the Maharashtra Public Universities Act, 2016. The final decision will be taken by the governor.

“He [Deshmukh] was given enough time by the governor to resign from the post, but he failed to understand the seriousness of the matter and remained defiant. Anticipating this, the Raj Bhavan has filed caveat in the high court so he [Deshmukh] will not be able to get a stay, without considering other side,” sources said.