University goes online to curb paper leaks

Four faculties to download question papers via web links from November.

After a series of paper leaks in May, Mumbai University (MU) has decided to do away with, in a phase-wise manner, the practice of sending hard copies of questions papers to exam centres.

Colleges offering law, engineering, pharmacy and education degrees will have to download papers from a web portal for mid-terms starting November 19.

Twenty-seven law, 61 engineering, 18 pharmacy and 125 BEd colleges are affiliated to the university.

MU will send password-protected web links to the colleges. Principals will be provided user names and two passwords, one to access the portal and the other to open question papers.

"University officials held meetings with principals and senior faculty to explain the new system. We were told we can change the passwords. We will have to download the question papers and make photocopies," said N M Rajadhyaksha, dean of law faculty at MU and principal of New Law College, Matunga.

"As a pilot project, we will implement the system for four faculties. By next academic year, we will try to extend it to more colleges and by 2013-end, all 654 affiliated colleges will receive papers through web links. The technology involves security checks at various levels to curb malpractices. The initiative is part of our exam reforms," said Subhash Deo, director of examinations at MU.

However, many senior faculty members are not sure the system will be foolproof.

"MU cannot discontinue sending hard copies of question papers as many colleges in rural areas do not have the technology required for the new system. Colleges need high-speed internet and photocopy machines to download and print papers in scheduled time," said principal of an engineering college in Navi Mumbai.

"The initiative sounds systematic, but I am not sure how it will prevent leaks. It will cut transportation time, but paper leaks never happen during transportation. They happen during or before papers are dispatched," said Rajadhyaksha.

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