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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Mumbai university plans online assessment training for teachers during Diwali holidays

University wants teachers to be ready before next exams, which begin on Nov 8; colleges worried that teachers may not show up as it is vacations

mumbai Updated: Oct 12, 2017 13:45 IST
Shreya Bhandary
Shreya Bhandary
Hindustan Times
The online assessment system has led to chaos, which the University wants to avoid for the next exams.
The online assessment system has led to chaos, which the University wants to avoid for the next exams.(HT File)

With less than one month left for the winter session exams, the University of Mumbai (MU) has decided to conduct training sessions for teachers to prevent the repetition of problems with online assessment.

The exams begin after Diwali vacations, on November 8.

The university, which is working on several changes to smoothen the online assessment process for its under-graduate and post-graduate courses, will be conducting a series of training workshops for teachers across Mumbai, Thane and Ratnagiri, after experts pointed out that the lack of training and coordination caused major problems and led to last time’s chaos.

However, the training is scheduled to start from October 25, bang in the middle of Diwali vacations for colleges affiliated to the university, and college principals are worried that their teachers will not show up. “The first lesson the university needs to learn is to understand the academic schedule that they themselves have planned, and figure out the holiday schedule. Teachers must have planned their vacation in advance; how do we force them to change it?” asked the principal of a south Mumbai college, on condition of anonymity.

As per the academic schedule released by MU at the start of this academic session, Diwali holidays are from October 14 to November 8. “Earlier, the university was planning to conduct exams during the vacations, but they decided to postpone it after we protested. Now they want to conduct training. How is this fair to teachers?” the principal asked.

Last month, a series of meetings was held between the university staff, college principals and experts to discuss the future of the On-Screen Marking (OSM) system. Most experts suggested that only the self-financed courses, such as BMM, BMS, etc., and engineering exams, should be assessed online; the rest should be assessed manually. This was also being considered to prevent overloading the assessment software. However, at another meeting held at Raj Bhavan in the last week of September, it was decided to continue the OSM system for all courses. This meeting was convened by the governor and university chancellor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, and attended by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

“We’ve been assessing papers since May, even though it is our designated vacation period. Now, the university is eating into our Diwali vacations. To make matters worse, MU has also scheduled exams during Christmas holidays. We will not accept this,” said a teacher, who did not wish to be named.

The university is yet to declare the dates for training, and meetings are being held with Merit Trac, the agency managing online assessment for MU, to chart out a schedule for teachers so that they are well-trained for assessments for the upcoming exams.

First Published: Oct 12, 2017 13:40 IST