Nagpur: In a U-turn, Nagpur University on Friday, handed over the work of conducting its 2020 winter examinations to the controversial Promarc Software Limited. The decision was taken during an emergent management council meeting.
As per NU statutory members, the agency was roped in when the theory papers were just a week away. It is learnt that no efforts were made for the last three months to seek a new firm since 2020 summer exams. Senate member Manmohan Bajpayee had told TOI on Friday that NU would be entrusting the exams to Promarc again.
In February, vice chancellor Subhash Chaudhari had ruled out roping in Promarc on account of lapses committed by it during summer exams. Not only did the app crash repeatedly, its servers also became unresponsive many times forcing NU to conduct re-exams of many subjects. Though NU conducted papers of only 72,000 final year students, it gave nightmares to the examinees due to lack of preparedness by the Ramdaspeth firm.
Promarc also tried to conduct Amravati University’s online exams. After repeated blunders, it was blacklisted. Even the Gondwana University had severed its contract with the firm. On Friday, NU administration tabled a proposal of Promarc stating that it hadn’t floated any tender, but continued the firm as other agencies quoted very high rates.
VC and pro-VC Sanjay Dudhe refused to answer TOI’s calls. Board of Examination and Evaluation (BOEE) director Prafulla Sable defended the NU’s decision. “We haven’t given any new contract to Promarc, but added exam work into its terms and conditions for on-screen evaluation. Since we’re conducting exams on MCQ pattern, there’s no requirement for any evaluation. Therefore, we told them to instead conduct winter exams. It was clearly written in their contract that they would be doing any other work as assigned by the university,” he said.
Exams through web-based link on mobile
BOEE Prafulla Sable director told TOI that NU would be conducting exams through a web-based link that would be received by students on their mobiles and computers. “The web-link will come up with full proctoring. It will inform NU about examinees’ location and other details. The link would take a picture of a student and match it with one on the server. The Promarc would be roping in Microsoft for using its Azure software for the exams,” he said.
Sable added that Microsoft had assured three cover-up and three back-up servers. “A team of Microsoft workers in the city which would be an added advantage to us, as coordination would be easier. Last time, we needed to coordinate in Hyderabad for Promarc’s servers,” Sable said.