Massive staff crunch at exam cells in state varsities, reveal figures

Exam cells or divisions across universities in Maharashtra are severely short-staffed and the requirements range from 35 at SNDT Women's University to 350 at University of Mumbai. What is further shocking is that agricultural universities in the state do not have dedicated exam cells.

The issue of temporary staff working in sensitive areas of Mumbai University's exam department had resurfaced after a paper leak exposed involvement of three such workers recently.

"Lack of permanent and trained staff poses a massive challenge for universities in the state. Each year, number of colleges and students are going up. Expansion is necessary but where is the staff to manage this growth? After 2000, the state government has not allotted any new permanent staff to universities. They state needs to seriously review its policies and procedures in the light of expansion and problems being faced by universities and colleges," said a senior academician.

"It is surprising that our agricultural universities don't have separate exam cells or divisions. They have a common body (Maharashtra Agricultural University Examination Board), which is being run on pooled posts from the four agricultural universities," added the academician.

According to figures available on staffing patterns in exam cells/divisions of universities in Maharashtra, while staff requirements stand at 61 for Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, it is 55 for Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University (Aurangabad) and 117 for North Maharashtra University (Jalgaon). Further, while Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University has projected a requirement of 121 along with technical and administrative staff, this number stands at 87 for Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (Nashik) and 65 for Solapur University. The highest requirement, however, is in the case of Mumbai University.

"The requirements projected are for the immediate future. We conduct highest number of exams and have the largest number of students and colleges affiliated to us. Hence, our requirement is also big," said Subhash Deo, Director of Examination at Mumbai University.

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