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APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University drops Web-enabled exam

The newly established APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram dropped the ‘Web-Enabled Examination Management System’ for conducting examinations.Earlier it was claimed to be switching over from the conventional manual methods followed by other Universities in the state.

Succumbing to pressure from opposition parties and teacher-students’ unions, the KTU has finally decided to put off its maiden B.Tech and M.Tech first semester examinations scheduled to begin on Friday. The varsity’s plans to make the conduct of web-based exams entrusting it with a Bangalore based software firm has run into a rough weather with all political parties and teacher-students’ unions criticizing the varsity against the move. The decision to change the conduct of exams online for which the varsity had made all arrangements to manual mode was taken at a meeting convened by Education Minister P.K.Abdu Rabb at Thiruvananthapuram the other day.

Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan was the first to come out against the outsourcing of the examination work to the Bengaluru-based agency.

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The ‘Web-Enabled Examination Management System’ introduced by KTU may have received flak from various quarters

The KTU maintains that it has already completed one examination — for the MBA programme — on the web based domain platform and that it was hugely successful. The results of the MBA examination conducted by KTU from November 19 to 30 were published on December 2. It was for the first time in the state that the results of a university examination were published within three days from the last date of examination. The students are  are happy that the examination results, which normally take months to get published, were out in record time,”- said  KTU Vice Chancellor Kuncheria Isaac, who is also an academician and administrator of repute. “Many universities in India are switching to online platforms for examinations. It is a secure mode for conducting examinations and that too within a smaller budget than conventional examinations,” he said.

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KTU officials says the private agency has been roped in only to provide the software for the examination and also the hardware – computers, printers, scanners, web cams – to be used in the examinatioin centres. At no point of the examination does the agency have any access to the question papers, they say.
“In fact, such an examination system is being followed by many leading universities as well as the Central Board Of Secondary Education (CBSE). Allegations that the entire examination has been outsourced to a private agency is highly misleading,” says KTU Pro Vice-Chancellor M Abdul Rahman.
“Competitive examinations such as CAT, CMAT and All-India Medical Entrance also have software outsourced from private agencies. Does that mean that the credibility of all these examinations is dubious?” Rahman asks. The Web-Enabled Exam management system had proposed doing away with valuation camps and introducing online valuation in its place. Also, the question papers were proposed to be sent online to the examination centres an hour before the examination.

Had the new system been implemented, the KTU would have been the first university in Kerala to conduct examinations online. The University of Kerala is preparing to put in place a similar system for its examinations.

The examination reform has made the cumbersome and time-consuming process of valuation of answer scripts a simple, online process and  the results could be declared within a few days due to the introduction of the Web-Enabled Exam Management System.

With KTU postponing  all engineering examinations under the new system indefinitely in the wake of protests, all hopes of bringing out excellence in the technical education sector in the state are shattered which would make no less different KTU  from the rest of other Universities where exams are not conducted in time, results are inordinately delayed putting the students into untold miseries and sufferings. The net result is that the 40,000-odd students in 153 engineering colleges in the state are destined to write the exams under the conventional patterns with all the inherent ills of a denigrated system.

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