ONLINE OR OFFLINE TEST: THE BIG QUESTION
Allahabad, May 12: The University of Allahabad recently turned into a hotbed of feuds and factions after the incumbent Vice Chancellor alleged that the Centre interfering in the varsity’s internal matters. Soon afterwards Hangloo did a U-turn and blamed “political interference” for bringing the institution’s functioning to a standstill.
The genesis of the trouble was the Varsity’s reversal of its order on making online entrance tests mandatory for admission to post-graduate courses. Initially at a media interaction, Hangloo alleged that this reversal was prompted by the HRD ministry which probably yielded to pressure from some BJP legislators. Lambasting the political bigwigs Hangloo remarked, “If politicians continue to interfere, we will all have to leave. Then government can run the university as per their opinion. Then it would be better to have MLAs or MPs as vice-chancellor in place of academicians.” A miffed Hangloo even offered to step down. Soon afterwards, Hangloo dashed off a letter to the Rajya Sabha chairman clarifying that neither HRD Minister Smriti Irani nor her officers had meddled with the functioning of the university. He squarely blamed the media for the messy situation.
Later the Vice Chancellor blamed the BJP, Samajwadi Party and Congress for vitiating the campus atmosphere and exerting pressure on him to turn down the order on making online entrance tests mandatory. Meanwhile university sources say, several prominent BJP MPs had visited the University last week and met the students who were on a hunger strike to protest against the online entrance tests. Sources reveal that subsequently a group of BJP MPs met HRD Minister Smriti Irani and insisted on e restoration of the offline option. Thereafter a communiqué’ from the Ministry compelled the university administration to roll back its decision.
The move to introduce online tests was vehemently opposed by the students on the ground candidates hailing from remote areas with poor internet connectivity would be hard-hit. The university administration relented a little allowing only undergraduate to take tests offline. Hangloo alleged that it was the irate students themselves, who sought interference of political parties with the help of their seniors who had considerable political clout. Hangloo however lamented that this scrapping of online tests would hurt the Digital India dream of this government.
Interesting to note HRD ministry officials requesting anonymity, disclosed that the Government’s letter to Allahabad University only “noted” that the varsity administration has no objection to conducting offline entrance test this year. The online mode could be launched from the next academic session.