TED NewsDesk, New Delhi: The final-year exams are likely to begin in a week. Varsities across the state of Maharashtra are busy framing question sets for different courses that they offer. With these universities preparing to organise examinations, many non-teaching staffs from Non-Agricultural Universities and colleges of Maharashtra went on a strike on Thursday. The staffers did not report to work to press the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission.
It is a long carried debate which earlier was carried out by the employees of Maharashtra State College Universities Employees Action Committee (MSCUEAS), a board of eight connections of non-teaching staffers and officers of Maharashtra. However, on September 24 all the staffs joined the protest. They further revealed their plans to extend the sit-in agitation, given the authority does not meet their demands.
While calling for the strike MSCUEAS released a statement that read, “Except non-agricultural universities, all other government employees are getting benefits of seventh pay commission from January 1, 2016, as per the revised pay structure. However, the entire staff in universities like Nagpur, are being deprived of the benefits. It’s clear discrimination towards hundreds of non-teaching staff working in these institutions from the government. It’s a clear violation of Constitution of India’s directives regarding equality.”
“The recommendations have already been implemented for employees of other universities, and our demands have been pending for over two years now,” said Nagpur University Deputy Registrar Anil Hirekhan who is also the office-bearer of Maharashtra Universities Officers Forum.
The protest has become a reason for the further delay in displaying schedules and the question banks on the portal, besides other pieces of information related to the exams, alleged the functionaries. The miscommunication resulted in a panic amongst the students who have to appear for the exams in the coming weeks, informed the Maharashtra Welfare Students Association and Maharashtra Students Union. Some final-year students from these colleges raised their concerns on various social media platforms.
Mr Gajanan Palse, Director of Examination, Kolhapur University, said, “Our backlog examinations begin from October 1, but teachers are expected to submit question banks between September 28 and 30. Exams will be conducted around October 10, but due to the protest, not many employees have been reporting to work.”
“We are in the process of uploading question banks, and the mock test will be conducted on October 1,” added Ganesh Manza, Director of Examination, Marathwada University.
The teachers are finding it tough to frame Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) for question paper sets and question banks, given the diversity of subjects and their structures. One of the professors of a Mumbai-based college highlighted, “It has been very time consuming as subjects under social sciences, such as sociology or literature, are perspective-based and do not lend itself to yes or no kind of questions.”
The University of Mumbai established groups and placed its colleges under them to work upon questionnaires and time-tables. However, these colleges are now struggling to complete the assigned tasks on time due to the protest scenario. Ananda Amrithlal, Principal, Sophia College, said that the institution would share the question banks a few days before the date of examinations.
She added, “We have shared the time-table with students on our Google groups, and mock tests have been completed. Our exams begin from October 1, and we will share question banks before that.”
The Principal of RD National College Neha Jagtiani said, “The suggested time-tables have been sent to our cluster. Each college will be displaying them. The question banks have come for some courses…”
The members of Maharashtra University Employees Federation had protested for the implementation of Seventh pay commission recommendation and other demands. The then minister of higher and technical education assured the staffers to solve their issues. However, the concerned authority did not take any step to do the same, forcing the employees to call for a strike again, this year.