Online reforms in education gets a big push forward

The year 2013 witnessed a major boost to several online reforms and automation processes introduced in both higher education and school-level education, replacing the traditional practices and methods of delivery system and governance. This has not only been reduced transaction time and helped authorities eliminate errors, but also brought in more accuracy and accountability, minimal human intervention and optimising time.

The University of Pune (UoP) started online delivery of question papers to a section of education institutes under its jurisdiction, and also initiated conduct of certain examinations of the engineering faculty online mode as a pilot project. The varsity extended the barcode system, introduced on a pilot basis a few months back, to 12 departments during the Oct/Nov 2013 examination session.

This was considered as a big leap forward after starting the process of online filling up of examination form by students at the end of 2012. After initial formidable opposition from several students and other stakeholders in view of teething troubles associated with the examination reforms, these mandatory measures initiated by the UoP have been gaining support.

It is noteworthy that in July, the state government had invoked special powers under the Maharashtra Universities Act, 1994 to prevail upon varsities to to introduce online reforms and automation processes recommended by the high-level committee, which was headed by the secretary of the Information and Technology Department of Maharashtra, Rajesh Aggarwal. The 19-member committee had advocated that universities should try and implement its recommendations on pilot basis by the first half of 2013 and in a full-fledged manner thereafter.

UoP is believed to be pioneering in implementing several reforms suggested by the panel. "The examination process automation initiated by the Examination Section envisages the need for radical reforms in traditional examination and assessment system and aims at evolving a credible, effective and transparent evaluation system that responds confidently to the challenges and n demands of a knowledge society," UoP's controller of examination, Sampada Joshi had said.

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