Mumbai University final year exams: Varsity issues second circular to clarify doubts

Less than a week after the University of Mumbai released a circular confirming the dates, method and format for end-of-term final year summer 2020 examinations, the varsity released another circular on Monday morning clarifying queries raised by affiliated colleges. With several colleges still grappling with multiple choice question (MCQ) format and ensuring all students are able to appear for exams online, the MU circular emphasises on the role of a cluster or lead college.

“The concept of a lead or cluster college is to bring together a group of affiliated colleges in a given geographical region offering similar programs (arts, commerce, science, engineering, pharmacy, etc) and facilitate the synchronisation and coordination with respect to execution of various academic and examination work,” states the MU circular signed by the controller of examination, Vinod Patil. The university has also once again clarified that all exams and said MCQs will be based on what was taught in colleges until March 13, 2020, only. However, for those appearing for backlog exams (repeater candidates) the exam will be based on the complete portion.

Lead colleges have also been given the responsibility of coordinating with all colleges that form the cluster and encourage involvement of teachers of all colleges for a particular subject to put together their MCQs to formulate a comprehensive bank of questions. “Inter-cluster support in order to facilitate preparation of a large base of MCQs will also be encouraged,” states the circular. Colleges have also been requested to keep in mind the level of difficulty while framing questions for the upcoming exams.

“MCQ papers will comprise of 25-40 questions, to be chosen as per the requirement of the subject, and this one hour paper will carry maximum 50 marks,” states the circular and further explains how to put together the questions and four options per question. “Sample MCQs should eb prepared and provided to develop the understanding about exam pattern for students and mock tests too should be conducted for the purpose of practice.”

While colleges are still grappling with the new examination format, an association representing non-government colleges has approached MU vice chancellor Suhas Pednekar requesting that all autonomous colleges and Institutes under the two cluster universities approved by state government be put together under one cluster for the purpose of better functioning. “Autonomous institutes working together will work better and they will too follow all MU guidelines for examinations,” said T Shiware, chairman of the Mumbai Association of Non-Government Colleges.

Teachers, however, are not pleased with the compulsion initiated by the university on a question bank of MCQs for every subject. “We have been asked to put together a question bank of 250 questions for every subject, and I alone teach four subjects across two departments so the total workload is immense for the time we have in hand before exams for repeater candidates begins,” said a professor of a suburban college on condition of anonymity. Some teachers are also suggesting that colleges under each cluster should divide work on every subject and then put together the MCQ question bank in order to avoid repetition of questions.

As per the MU schedule, practical exams for repeater candidates will begin on September 15 whereas their theory exam will start from September 25. Exams for fresh candidates will take place between October 1 and 15, 2020.

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