Water crisis forces MSBTE to advance exam dates

Fearing that water shortage in Maharashtra would aggravate by May, Maharashtra State Board of Technical Education (MSBTE) has advanced the final exam of all the diploma courses by a month.

To ensure that the syllabus of diploma courses is completed before the exam and to reach the target of 90 working days, the board has directed the affiliated colleges to conduct lectures even on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. The board has also increased the class timings from seven to eight hours.

"The final exams of diploma pharmacy and engineering and other short-term diploma courses were to go on till May 24, which will be the peak of summer. Already the problem of water shortage in the seven districts - Jalna, Beed, Parbhani, Nanded and Hingoli in Marathwada region and Solapur and Sangli in western Maharashtra have stopped work that need excess water. If the situation is this now, it is likely to aggravate by May. We have therefore pushed the exam ahead by a month, so that colleges can cut down the usage of water in May. Students who stay in hostels can go home as soon as exams are over," said P M Khodke, director of MSBTE.

According to the new timetable, practical examinations which were to be held from April 4 to April 17 have been rescheduled to March 24-April 4. Theory exams, which were scheduled from April 18 to May 24, will now be held from April 5 to April 24.

The move, however, has not gone down well with management of a few colleges in Mumbai and Pune. "We are not facing any water shortage. Why are we being rushed to complete the syllabus? Our faculty is struggling to complete the portion and students will suffer this way," said director of a polytechnic college in south Mumbai.

There are 1,040 colleges affiliated to MSBTE across the state. This includes 189 pharmacy colleges and 479 engineering colleges. The rest offer short-term diploma courses.

The proposal to advance the exam by a month was given to the board by a delegation of 16 principals. "Principals of 16 colleges, most of which are located in areas facing water shortage, had proposed that the exams be held earlier. We cannot make different timetables for various regions. We have appealed colleges to co-operate," said Khodke.

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