Mumbai University (MU) is all set to evaluate answer sheets of all the examinations online. From the next exams season, starting April 2017, the university will be introducing an online exam-paper assessment project for all the faculties.
All the examinations will be checked online like the MU has been doing for engineering papers. The university started online assessment for four semesters of engineering exams, scanning around two lakh answer sheets per semester, since 2013, and has successfully declared the results within 15-20 days.
Need for online evaluation
Every semester, the university conducts 402 examinations in various faculties such as arts, science, commerce, management and law. Every semester examiners, followed by moderators, evaluate over 19.5 lakh answer booklets manually.
According to the Maharashtra University Act 1994, the results should be declared within 45 days from the end of exams. But the university, owing to several constraints and human interface, has been trouble meeting the deadline for the past decade.
While doubts have been raised over the digital move owing to the volume of answer sheets to be corrected, MU officials claim that the project will prevent delay in declaring results.
Labeling the onscreen/online assessment project for engineering and technology as a pilot project, the University aims to replicate the same in all other faculties too. The aim is to publish the results within 15-20 days since the examination
According to the media reports, the answer sheets of the university examinations for all courses will be scanned. Examiners will be given a password, which will allow them to access the papers and evaluate them on the screen itself.
With the digital evaluation in place, there will be lower human interference and it will ensure better security. According to the officials, since the papers are scanned there will be no physical copies lying with the examiners. Papers will be sealed as soon as they are corrected ensuring fewer cases of malpractice, and increased efficiency and transparency.
A six-storey building is being constructed for the exam house. The building will have centrally AC halls with computers and scanners for examiners to work on. The infrastructure will be ready by April 2017.
The university will conduct orientation sessions and workshops for the examiners ahead of the evaluation.
Many are apprehensive about university’s move and with a good reason. After MU introduced onscreen assessment for engineering faculty in 2014, hundreds of students were allegedly failed due to goof ups in scanning the answer booklets. That year, the university had to re-do the entire evaluation manually delaying the results of exams conducted in September and November till March.
To be fair though, the engineering assessment issue occurred only once. The project is working well for the past two years now. That is perhaps the reason why the university is confident about extending online assessment to other faculties.
The officials are more enthusiastic and claim that they have worked on all the issues that could occur while implementing the project. The university has invited tenders and the best company will be shortlisted.
Going all online
Besides online assessments, MU decided to venture online to streamline some of the administrative processes as well. In a bid to save the resources and time, the university is in the process to develop software that will enable them to effectively manage college affiliations, staff appointments, inspections of colleges and payment & receipt generation of fee.
Officials hope that the interface, named Nirmal Software, will bring in more transparency and make the affiliation process faster. It will also be easier for the university to set up a local inquiry committee (LIC) to inspect new colleges.
The software will also be employed for the recruitment and selection process of the staff personnel. The advertisement regarding the vacancy, applications for candidature will be available online.
Currently, the University operates in manual mode, except hall ticket issue and pre-admission registration.