Mumbai varsity gives Rs1.18 crore to firm that set up online assessment system

A report prepared by the higher and technical education department also blamed the firm for the results mess

mumbai Updated: Nov 23, 2017 00:05 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,university,results mess
The assessment mess at MU delayed announcement of results by five months.(Hindustan Times)

The University of Mumbai (MU) recently cleared dues worth Rs1.18 crore of Merit Trac Services Private Limited, the firm responsible for implementing the on-screen assessment (OSM) of answer papers earlier this year. However, shoddy execution resulted in a mess and delayed results by five months. It also resulted in ouster of vice -chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh.

RTI activist Anil Galgali, who received this information from MU, has demanded action against the firm for putting future of lakhs of students at risk instead of the varsity clearing its dues. A report by the state higher and technical education department had held the firm responsible for the results, among other factors.

In its response to the RTI query filed by Galgali, the MU said the firm so far, has raised two bills amounting to Rs4.17 crore — one of Rs1.48 crore and another of Rs2.69 crore — of which the varsity cleared Rs1.18 crore.

Galgali added that the firm which is responsible for putting future of lakhs of the students at risk and bringing disrepute to 164-year-old varsity should have been blacklisted. “I have written to the governor and chief minister that no further payments should be made to the firm. Instead, the government should start process of recovering damages,” he said.

Commenting on the issue, inesh Kamble, in-charge registrar, MU, said, “The decision to continue with Merit Trac was taken by the board of examination and evaluation. I did sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the company because being a custodian of the varsity, the registrar is required to implement all the decisions — good or bad — taken by the university authorities. If there’s any action to be taken against the company, it will also be decided by the board.”

Arjun Ghatule, incharge director, the board of examination and evaluation, refused to comment on the matter.

The firm was appointed in April this year to implement OSM to curb malpractices while correcting answer sheets. However, lack of preparation and infrastructure led to chaos and delayed results.

On October 24, Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, chancellor of all the universities, sacked Deshmukh for gross negligence and failing to comply directives issued by him to ensure timely declaration of exam results.

A report prepared by the higher and technical education department also blamed the firm for the mess. The report highlighted that the firm was neither technically sound nor did it train teachers to assess answer papers online — one of the reasons for delay in declaring results.

First Published: Nov 23, 2017 00:05 IST