Mumbai: For more than a year, the University of Mumbai (MU) has been functioning without full-time officials at some of its key positions including registrar, exam director and deans of faculties.
These posts have been lying vacant since September last year and are being handled by temporary appointees. MU hasn't been able to find the director, Board of Examination and Evaluation (BoEE), as six aspirants interviewed for the post in September were deemed 'unsuitable' for the job.
Key functionaries missing at a crucial time
These functionaries, who are responsible for the varsity's administrative and academic affairs, are missing at a time when the university and its affiliated colleges have begun the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP). The post of BoEE director is particularly critical as MU's exam department has been a continuous sore spot due to various exam-related goof-ups and result delays. Even the last exam session was also marked by delays in declaring the results of several exams caused by the erroneous filling of answer sheets by students.
The term of the previous set of deans had ended in September last year with the retirement of the then vice-chancellor (VC) Suhas Pednekar, as these positions are co-terminus with the VC's post. Around the same time, the varsity's Director, BoEE Vinod Patil had also resigned after he became the registrar at the Kavyitri Bahinabai Chaudhary North Maharashtra University. Sudhir Puranik, the then-registrar, went on a long leave due to health reasons, leaving the varsity without a full-fledged administrative head.
While the university had replaced these functionaries with temporary staff, the process to appoint the regular head of the exam department didn't begin until April this year. However, the advertisement for selecting the deans and registrar came only after MU got Ravindra Kulkarni as its new VC in June.
Following a screening process, MU had shortlisted six candidates - three university officials, a faculty member from its mathematics department and two teachers from its affiliated colleges. However, none of these candidates were selected, as they failed to satisfy the authorities in their interviews. A fresh advertisement was issued for the post last month.
Varsity kept extending last date of application
While the advertisement to apply for the deans' and the registrar's posts was issued in September, the varsity kept extending the last date of application in the hopes of finding more candidates. The application process finally culminated on November 3. The applications for all the posts are now currently being scrutinised. The selection process will likely continue well into December.
The activists have criticised the delay in appointments. “It appears that the authorities are purposely dragging the process, as they don't want to let go of their trusted temporary appointees,” said Sanjay Vairal, a former member of MU Senate.
Another former senate member Pradeep Sawant of Yuva Sena (UBT) said that the students are suffering in the absence of a full-time exam director. “Many students' results are pending and the ones that have been declared are incomplete. The students have to wait for three months to get their mark sheets, which is affecting their higher education opportunities,” he said.