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Mumbai university has never reviewed its online question paper delivery system: Panel

The varsity had appointed the committee after several third-year BMS and BCom Accounting and Finance (BAF) papers were leaked

mumbai Updated: Nov 24, 2017 13:34 IST
Musab Qazi
Musab Qazi
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Mumbai University,paper leak
The Mumbai University introduced the Digital Exam Paper Delivery System (DEPDS) in 2013. (Hindustan Times)

The University of Mumbai (MU) has never reviewed its digital platform that is used to send question papers to its colleges, leaving it susceptible to malpractices, a report by an internal committee has revealed.

The Digital Exam Paper Delivery System (DEPDS) was introduced in 2013 after a series of paper leaks.

In its seven-page report, the one-member committee also revealed that colleges were unaware of security measures required for the delivery system, said a source.

The varsity had appointed the committee after several papers of third-year bachelor of management studies (BMS) and BCom Accounting and Finance (BAF) were leaked between November 9 and November 16 on a social media platform.

While the city police are probing the matter, the university’s internal committee was tasked with conducting its own investigation.

The police arrested 13 people, including 11 students. The accused were later released on bail. The committee has faulted the varsity for not reviewing DEPDS in the last four years. During this period, three instances of papers being ‘leaked’ on social media were reported to the university. “The report said there should have been an assessment of the system and the varsity should have enquired whether the colleges are following the norms,” said the source.

In the paper leak case, the main accused , who works as a computer technician at a Kandivli college, was aware that the university sends a password to the college principal and technical coordinator to enable them to download the examination papers one-and-a-half hours before the exam, according to the police. The computer servers were interlinked, allowing the accused to copy the saved papers from the folder and send them to his mailbox and later to the agents who distributed them to students, said the police.

The report recommended that the university include information technology (IT) experts in its flying squads. These experts would help the squads to keep an eye on digital infrastructure at colleges, in addition to preventing other malpractices.

The committee also suggested that the varsity conduct a training programme to familiarise college authorities with various security measures needed for the system, before every semester examination. “When DEPDS was first introduced, the university issued a list of dos and don’ts. However, many colleges are unaware of these guidelines,” said the source.

Currently, the university conducts a trial run of the system before every examination.

Arjun Ghatule, in-charge director, board of examination and evaluation at MU, said, “The university’s paper delivery system is perfect, but one can’t do much if there’s human involvement. I have already appointed two committees, consisting of computer experts, to check whether colleges are meeting the technical norms of the paper delivery system. So far, they have visited 15 to 20 colleges. The colleges are aware of the security requirements of DEPDS. We have also been conducting workshops to train college staff, although I don’t know if such activities were conducted in past.”

Ghatule added that the university is waiting for the police report to initiate any action.

First Published: Nov 24, 2017 12:37 IST