Mumbai University charges more than 100 times the expenditure it incurs on reassessing answer scripts.
In the past three years, while the university raked in Rs 7.9 crore as revaluation and photocopying charges from aggrieved students not satisfied with their scores, it spent merely Rs 7.1 lakh on processing the job.In fact, such is the “optimism“ that in the revised budget estimates for 2016-17, the varsity expects to earn Rs 7.6 crore from revaluation in a single year.
What is shocking is that the staff that makes up the backbone of this revaluation process is paid a meagre sum. A teacher gets Rs 200 to reassess an answer script. The revaluation charge per paper for a student is Rs 500 and for photocopying Rs 100. Going by the numbers provided on the university's expenses to re-check papers, merely1,160 answerbooks were re-evaluated between April 2013 and March 2014. Between April 2015 and March 2016, 1,287 papers were re-checked.
But an exhaustive RTI query filed by activist Vihar Durve on revaluation found that this year 1.2 lakh candidates of the approximately 3.5 lakh who wrote an exam applied to the university for revaluation.
The numbers pose a critical question on the quality of evaluation.
Through an earlier RTI question, Durve had revealed that approximately one in every four Mumbai University student who applied for revaluation in 2012 and early 2013 went on to clear the exam, putting the as sessment under a cloud.
“Exams are critical for students and it is important for the university to appoint evaluators who realize they need to take utmost care while assessing every paper. These scores determine the course of their life--which college they can enrol in for higher studies or the career they can take up,“ said Durve, who obtained the data.
However, candidates who apply for revaluation include those who failed in the initial assessment and want to clear the exam and those who feel they deserve a better score. “While separate data for both kinds of candidates is not currently available, experience shows that almost 75% apply to clear the exam,“ said a former controller of examinations.
The RTI data points to the aggregate numbers across semesters and disciplines, but a former dean said a large portion of the problem lay with the technology stream. If the data is analysed closely , he said, one would notice that the success rate of students in applied mathematics and mechanics for first-semester engineering students will be close to 1%. “However, after revaluation, pass percentage mysteriously shoots up to around 90%,“ he added.
Among all streams, engineering has the most reassessment requests; in 2015, 45,855 candidates applied. Ironically , the count of teachers participating in the central assessment process has been slipping each year, added a former dean. Engineering is followed by commerce and science at 32,229 and 16,037 applications. University officials said the problem is pronounced for BMS and BMM.