Hello friends! MU is back!! And so am I with the greatest new updates of MU that never fail to amuse me. And I am sure that that the roller coaster ride that the students and teachers of MU enjoy throughout their academic year, will be lot of fun for all of you to read about 😉
So, where do I begin from?! This year MU has given me such incredibly great content that I am unable to decide where to start from. Umm… I think “criminals” studying in the Mumbai University Department of Physics will be good.
So I met this group of students from the University Department of Physics (UDP) in the month of June, 2017. These kids claimed to have post graduated from UDP in April ’16. But to my shock, these kids had not received all of their mark-sheets yet!! Oh yes, dear readers, it’s been more than one year now, and these kids have no proof of completing their graduation yet. Let me give tadka to this already interesting story. I fell short of words to express my feelings when I heard that the total strength of students at UDP is just 120 (i.e. 60 in Part 1 + 60 in Part 2)! Yes! Yes!! Yes!!! Looks like the rate of printing marksheets at UDP is more than 3 days per mark-sheet. High time UDP thinks about changing its printing facilities.
Jokes apart, this has caused serious havoc in the life of students. Many kids of UDP were denied admission for further studies, many lost their jobs and many could not even apply for jobs. The reason behind all this chaos – the utterly callous attitude of UDP! Well, this did not satisfy the evil souls at UDP and hence they decided to go a step ahead and printed a few mark-sheets in a format that was completely unknown and hence unacceptable to the students.
Here is my conversation with a student of UDP who suffered because of all this havoc created there:
Me: Hey Girish (name has been changed), I heard that something is wrong with the current format of mark-sheets that you have. Is that correct? And if yes, then would you please tell me what the problem is with the format?
G: Hi. What should I tell you, there is not one problem with our mark-sheets. There are many many many problems! (G replies in great frustration)
Me: OK. I am sorry if our conversation is causing you any kind of stress.
G: No, no. Why do you say sorry? People because of whom we are suffering (UDP authorities) do not even care. Anyways, I’ll tell you what all is wrong.
Me: Hey thanks. Please tell me all of it one by one so that I could write it properly.
G: Firstly, they have given us grade reports and not marksheets (That too not all students have received these grade reports). The problem with the format is that the marks that we have obtained in a particular paper are not mentioned on our grade cards. Only grades are mentioned.
Me: So that should be OK, I guess. Why do you need marks if grades represent your marks?
G: See that’s the whole issue! The grades or rather the CGPA that we obtain is not the true representative of the marks that we obtain. Now for example, my final CGPA is 5.53/7. That gives me a final grade of B. Now a B grade means a second class result. But if you calculate my percentage based on the marks I obtained, it comes to 67%, which is a first class result.
Me: Oh, that’s bad! Is it affecting you people? Do you know of a few cases where students have suffered because of this?
G: Yes! I am myself an example. There was an ad in the newspaper of an institute I desired to work for since a long time. The ad said that students who have post graduated with a first class result can apply for the post. Since I had 67%, I happily applied. But on the day of interviews my application was rejected saying that I have a B grade which means that I have a second class result. I tried very hard explaining to them that my actual percentage is 67, but they would not consider it L.
Me: But then you should have shown them the marks that you have scored. That would have cleared the confusion, I guess.
G: You see, UDP has decided to make its students suffer for choosing it. With the new format of mark-sheets that UDP gave us, we do not have our marks mentioned on the grade report. Now you tell me, how do I explain my claim of securing 67%? Well I am not the only example. I know a few students who lost their scholarships due to similar grade and percentage lafda.
Me: That’s really awful! I feel bad for all you students.
G: The story doesn’t end here. These people (at UDP) have introduced a new column in our mark-sheets, ‘No. of attempts’. This column indicates the number of attempts a student took to clear a particular paper. Now this is highly unfair! First of all no university or institute does this. Secondly there could be genuine reasons as to why a student took more than one attempt to clear a particular exam. But not taking into consideration any of this, the UDP authorities decided to do this without even informing us before hand.
Me: Didn’t you all try complaining about all this to say the HOD (Head of Department) or VC (Vice Chancellor)?
G: We tried. We wrote letters, gathered students, took their signatures, took appointments to meet the VC and what not. But in the end we students were termed “criminals” because we dared to fight for our rights! Teachers at UDP started threatening us of filing a police complaint against us.
Me: I am falling short of words. I really don’t know what to say!
So now you know about the story of “criminals” studying at UDP-MU.
I want to raise a few quick questions and I want you readers to answer them. Do you think that all that was done to the students of UDP was at all fair? Shouldn’t the students be getting their mark-sheets by now? Whose fault is it? Who do you think is suffering? Do students have the right to fight for their rights or not? With whom does the accountability of all this issue lie?
Well, it was time to say goodbye to the students and board the roller coaster again 😉 The next stop I took was a station which was very noisy. I was amazed to see that all the noise at this station was by the teachers of MU. I saw some very frustrated and irked faces and quickly realised the fact that MU authorities are very impartial. They make sure that they make the lives of both, students as well as its teachers, a living hell!
And here goes my conversation with a Prof of MU at this station:
Me: Hello ma’am. Could you please tell me what is all this noise about?
SA: Who are you?
“Must be some reporter. Just like other reporters she must have come here to write bad things about us”, shouted another professor, standing next to SA mam, in great anger.
Me: No, no sir! You are getting me wrong. Actually I am an ex-student of MU. I write for this magazine called SPARK. In this magazine we try to reach the youth by taking up issues that concern youth across the country. I regularly write about struggles that take place in MU (I showed them the article on struggle of MU students from issue 1 along with a few other articles too).
SA: Oh, we are so sorry Dear that we were rude to you earlier. Actually the thing is that a few media sources are supporting us, but most of them are painting the struggle of teachers or the questions raised by the teachers in MU in a bad light. Yeah so tell me what were you asking?
Me: Thanks for understanding mam. I just wanted to know what this noise here is all about.
SA: Actually the thing is that we have entered the month of June. By now, we should have completed correction of T.Y. bachelor’s papers. But the situation as of now is that not even 50% papers have been evaluated. And let me tell you that this is not the fault of teachers at all!
Me: Aing! If you all haven’t corrected the papers then it is your fault, right? (I asked in a hesitant tone).
SA: That’s what everyone is thinking. So let me explain to you how teachers are not at fault in this whole episode. This year, the University introduced a new scheme for correcting T.Y. Bachelors papers- the On Screen Marking method (OSM). Under this method, the University scans and uploads the answer books on a university portal. Teachers have to then log on to these portals, open papers that a particular teacher has to evaluate and correct them on computer instead of correcting them physically with hands…
Me: Oh that sounds exciting. Your work must have become easier now, right? (I exclaimed about OSM without even letting SA complete her statement)
SA: I understand how exciting it must be sounding to you. But believe me, the OSM is a mess! It is this decision of MU to take up OSM this year that has caused the delay in paper correction.
Actually this OSM is not a full proof method. There are a lot of loopholes when it comes to OSM. I’ll list them for you:
- The university server is not ready to handle the amount of data traffic that is happening due to OSM. Because of this every time we log on to the paper correction portal it takes around 25-30 minutes just for the portal to open. In this much time, under normal circumstances, we would have corrected 3-4 papers physically.
- Now even after we log on to the portal, it takes lot of time for just one paper to open completely. Till then we just have to keep waiting for the pages to load. All this nuisance causes a lot of time wastage.
- Many a time we see that wrong subject papers have been uploaded on a particular teacher’s portal. Which means as a teacher I have to log out and again go through the tedious and long process of logging in. Because of all this, at the end of the day, we end up correcting hardly 10% papers of what we could have corrected physically.
Me: But as far as I know, engineering papers for last few years in MU are being evaluated using the same OSM method. Then why all this problem?
SA: You see that’s another issue. The University informed us about this OSM scheme and trained teachers for the same in the month of April’17. We were asked to start correcting papers only in the month of June. Now with all these issues related to the OSM scheme, along with the minimum amount of training given to the teachers it is creating a mess. The teachers who are not so tech savvy need some time to learn the whole process of OSM. You tell me, if the university had decided to use OSM this year then why were the teachers trained at the eleventh hour? And why wasn’t it ensured by university officials that the scheme be free of all these malfunctions?
Me: Oh! This sounds like some serious problem. But is there some way by which the problem of server speed could be taken care of? Like say trying to load the online marking using a different network?
SA: Now that is another major issue. There are only a few limited number of CAP centres where teachers are expected to go and assess their papers. And teachers are expected to go to these CAP centres after completing their college duties.
Me: Oh no! This is not fair. As far as I know earlier while teachers corrected papers they didn’t have to teach since they finished before the next academic term started. Isn’t that right?
SA: Yes my Dear, you are absolutely correct! There should be CAP centres in every college. Then we can complete lectures and go for assessment. We are short of teaching staff. New appointments have not been made. There is excess workload of lectures. And we also have admission responsibility. It is daily 1.30 p.m. by the time the parents and students leave us alone after the admission process. How are we supposed to have any strength left for assessment after that?
And now the university officials are forcing us to complete the assessment before 31st July. We would like to assess minimum 30 papers a day, but how do we do it when servers are down and it takes enormous time to download and open them?
Me: My god! Who do they think you are, super-humans? This is very bad.
SA: And the worst part is that some of us have received threatening letters from authorities forcing us to complete assessment within a few weeks’ time. Even the circulars, related to paper assessment, brought out by university in this period threaten us to complete assessment in time, or else we will have to face serious consequences for the same. How can those sitting in their offices decide how much time is reasonable? They don’t have a clue!
Me: Now I understand the unrest that has spread amongst the teachers here. Accha ma’am, what about students? Won’t they suffer due to all this?
SA: Definitely yes! We are suffering now, but the poor kids will suffer for much longer. Many students will lose future job and study opportunities due to this delay. Also the delay in result will lead to delay in admissions for Masters Courses. Which means that teachers will get very little time to complete the ocean of syllabus for Masters Sem 1 and students will have even lesser time to complete studying all of it.
Me: That’s really bad! There is no way that teachers could be blamed for this! I will surely write about all this mess going on here and urge students to support your fight.
SA: Thank you Dear.
Me: Thankyou ma’am for all this information. I hope this problem gets resolved soon J
I found a principal of some college running around hassled, at the same platform. I was lucky enough to catch hold of him and get his quick comment on the situation. Principal said about three-fourth papers are yet to be assessed and it looks very difficult for the process to end even by July-end. “Some teachers come to the assessment Centre regularly but they are yet to get their ID and password. Many are unable to make it to the Centres as the academic session has also commenced. They are unable to take lectures and assess both at the same time,” said the principal.
A few quick questions are here for your readers again. Who is responsible for all this havoc? Who is going to suffer and suffering because of all this havoc? Where does the accountability lie?
Dear readers, issues could be different but answers are the same! It is lack of accountability in this system that is making teachers and students suffer for no fault of theirs. Till we keep quiet and take these attacks, they are not going to stop but will get worse with each day passing.
Teachers and students both need to come ahead and ask for answers. Answers that need to be handled by university with priority.
With this my roller coaster ride ended for the day. Let’s see what I will get to see, when I buy a ticket for the ride next time.