It broadly describes 94 types of mistakes/malpractices for which non-teaching staff, teaching staff and students can be levied a penalty and subjected to disciplinary action. To ensure the credibility of its examination process in the interest of its students, Bangalore University has now come out with a comprehensive Examination Ordinance, which fixes accountability on each individual, including students, involved in the process of examination. Stated to be first-of-its-kind exercise carried out by a university in the State, the draft of the ordinance, adopted by the University's Academic Council at its recent meeting, describes the duties and responsibilities of everyone right from a peon to the Registrar (Evaluation). Besides defining all types of examination malpractices on the part of non-teaching staff, college heads, teachers and students, it also prescribes the quantum of penalty and punishment for each type of mistake/malpractice. It broadly describes 94 types of mistakes/malpractices for which the non-teaching staff, teaching staff and students can be levied a penalty and subjected to disciplinary action. The penalty amount, depending upon the nature and degree of mistakes/malpractices, ranges from Rs.1,000 to Rs.50,000 (see box). Penalty will be imposed by the Vice-Chancellor and the Syndicate based on the recommendation of the malpractices enquiry committee. Interestingly, even though Section 42 of the Karnataka State Universities Act (KSUA) gives power to each university in the State to come out with ordinances for various purposes, none of the universities has evolved one for examinations and all of them, including Bangalore University, have been managing their examination affairs based on their respective examination manual, which has no legal sanctity as the “manual” has no place in the Act. Elaborating on the ordinance, Vice-Chancellor N. Prabhu Dev said that there was an urgent need to discipline the examination process as the university was depending on a manual prepared many years ago. Dr. Prabhu Dev pointed out that many of the procedures followed during conduct of examination, preparation of question papers and evaluation of answer scripts were changed frequently and there were no rules governing these processes. “The examination procedures were being changed at the whims and fancies of people holding certain positions, and none of the procedures had approval from the Chancellor as per the KSU Act,” Dr. Prabhu Dev pointed out, adding that the ordinance adopted by the Academic Council will stand judicial scrutiny. It will also make people involved in the examination process accountable. Resolving students' problems An important aspect is that the ordinance has laid down a detailed procedure to deal with problems faced by students during examinations. “Any problem pertaining to mistakes in declaration of results, in marks cards, or degree certificates or revaluation, shall be referred by the principal of the college to the cell constituted/officer authorised in the Examination Section of the University,” it states, making it mandatory on the part of each affiliated college to have a coordinator (exams) to attend to such problems. The students will have to submit complaints to the coordinator in each college, to be forwarded to the Registrar (Evaluation). The Examination Section of the University will have to dispose of such complaints within three days from the date of receipt, and inform the college within seven days if it is not possible to handle complaints within the deadline set. T.R. Subramanya, Registrar (Evaluation), while pointing out that the ordinance is the first of its kind in the country among universities, said that it is aimed at smooth conduct of examinations and to ensure that there are no delays in evaluating answer scripts, announcement of results, issuance of marks cards, degree certificates, etc. For transparency K.G. Lokesh, Professor, Maharani Lakshmi Ammani College, Bangalore, stated that the existing examination manual was not updated regularly and there was chaos in the process of conduct of examinations. “The ordinance ensures that every process is reliable and transparent.” “A comprehensive set of rules governing examinations was long overdue. It removes many difficulties that were being faced earlier while conducting examination and evaluation. “However, the penalty amount prescribed for different mistakes/malpractices appears to be on the higher side. The University, at least while dealing with certain mistakes/malpractices from students, needs to be slightly lenient in imposing a fine,” said T. Narayanappa, Professor and Principal, BES College, Bangalore. “Even in case of any mistake by teachers, the university should take a lenient view instead of imposing penalty straightaway where the mistakes are unintentional.” Leniency needed Kavitha, a student of Seshadripuram College, said that stringent rules are essential for controlling the examination wing of the University. She felt that the examination staff were not tuned to resolve students' complaints at the earliest. “The University should show some lenience towards students during first instances of unintentional mistakes or malpractices before imposing penalty,” she added. “The University should provide online all the examination-related information, and accept complaints and applications likewise. It should ensure that all colleges, private and government, provide online facility to the students,” said Pradeep Kumar, a student of Government First Grade College, Bangalore.