Mumbai University asks autonomous colleges to give extra time, ample break between papers

Mumbai University asks autonomous colleges to give extra time, ample break between papers

Following complaints from students of some city colleges against offline examinations, University of Mumbai on Saturday issued a circular asking all autonomous colleges to allow extra time to complete papers. It also directed them to keep ample break between two exams and to ensure that timings are suitable for students to travel conveniently.

The circular signed by Vinod Patil, director of Board of Examination and Evaluation, said this was addressed to the principals or heads of autonomous colleges after several students approached the university seeking relief in the upcoming examination session. “Since students will be appearing for offline or physical exams for the first time in two years, we suggest such colleges give extra time to complete their papers.”

A university official said some students also highlighted how colleges were holding exams at 7 am which would compel those travelling from areas like Palghar to leave home at 5 am to make it on time. “We have asked colleges to take into account such issues while fixing exam timings.”

The university had in February released a circular stating that the summer 2022 exams would be held in hybrid mode. All UG exams for commerce, arts, and science session 2 (regular) and backlog exams for the same batches would be conducted offline. Backlog exams (allowed to keep term) for semester 1, 3 and 5, as well as semester 4 exams for regular and backlog students would be held in online mode.

In the first week of March, the university issued another statement confirming that semester 6 exams for traditional (aided and unaided) courses would be conducted online, whereas those for professional courses would be held in offline mode. Several autonomous colleges, however, decided to conduct all exams only in offline mode.

Until now, autonomous colleges were lawfully allowed to call the shots, as neither the university nor the state government had released a statement against their decision. The latest university notification changes the situation.

“Some of us have already started conducting exams, and everything is working smoothly. In order to implement the university notification, we might have to make changes to our schedule altogether,” said the principal of a south Mumbai autonomous college on condition of anonymity. “A final decision will be taken by our examination board on Monday.”

Several student groups have visited the university in the last few weeks, hoping to bring relief to final year students.

“We also asked the university to put the onus of student safety on colleges that are insisting on offline exams in the city. Covid-19 is still looming and at such times, instead of choosing the safety of online exams, colleges are risking the health of students by holding physical exams,” Akhil Chitre of Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sena said.

He said while until now autonomous colleges were free to decide on the mode and timing of examination, they would be bound by law to follow the latest university notification. “If they fail to adhere to it, students will take their respective college to court.”