Less than a week after the University of Mumbai published a circular confirming the dates, methods and format for the exams for the end of the summer 2020 semester, the university published another circular on Monday morning asking questions from the affiliated universities have been clarified. With multiple colleges still grappling with the Multiple Choice Question Format (MCQ) and ensuring that all students can appear online for exams, the MU circular highlights 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 geographic area that offer similar programs (arts, commerce, science, engineering, pharmacy, etc.) and the synchronization and coordination in terms of to facilitate the execution of various academic and examination papers, ”states the MU circular signed by examiner Vinod Patil. The university has also made it clear once again that all exams and MCQs are only based on what has been taught in colleges by March 13, 2020. However, for those appearing for backlog exams (repeater candidates), the exam is based on the full part.
The lead universities have also been given the responsibility to coordinate with all of the universities that make up the cluster and encourage the involvement of teachers from all universities in a particular subject in order to put together their MCQs and formulate a comprehensive set of questions. “Inter-cluster assistance to facilitate the preparation of a large base of MCQs is also being encouraged,” the circular said. The colleges have also been asked to consider the level of difficulty as they formulate questions for the upcoming exams.
“MCQ papers consist of 25 to 40 questions chosen according to the needs of the subject. This one-hour paper will have a maximum of 50 points, “says the circular and further explains how the questions and four options per question are put together. “Sample MCQs should be prepared and provided to develop an understanding of the exam pattern for students, and mock tests should also be conducted for the purpose of the exercise.”
While the universities are still grappling with the new exam format, an association representing non-governmental universities has turned to MU Vice Chancellor Suhas Pednekar to request an exemption from these rules for autonomous universities. “We’ll be clear about this by tonight,” said T Shiware, chairman of the Mumbai Association of Non-Government Colleges.
However, the teachers are not satisfied with the compulsion introduced by the university to create a question bank with MCQs for each subject. “We were asked to put together a question bank of 250 questions for each subject, and I alone teach four subjects in two departments, so the total workload is huge for the time we have available for repeat candidates before the exams begin,” said a Professor of a Suburban College on condition of anonymity. Some teachers also suggest that colleges in each cluster split the work on each topic and then put together the MCQ question bank to avoid repetition of questions.
According to the MU schedule, repeater candidates’ practical exams start on September 15, while their theory test starts on September 25th. The exams for new candidates will take place between October 1st and 15th, 2020.