The West Bengal University of Technology has asked two special invigilators to keep tabs on the written tests in the MTech first and third semester examinations at Heritage Institute of Technology.
Higher education minister Bratya Basu recently accused the university’s vice-chancellor, Sabyasachi Sengupta, of malpractice, allegedly after he refused to promote a biotechnology student at the college to the second year of MTech after she failed to clear the second semester viva voce. The student had scored over 90 per cent in the written tests.
Fourteen students at the college, most of them of biotechnology, had initially failed to clear the viva voce, said a university official. Nine of them cleared viva voce in the second attempt and the rest, barring the girl who was not promoted, in the third. All of them had done well in the theory papers.
Engineering colleges have often been accused of adopting or allowing unfair practices so that students can do well in semester exams of the masters course. While the invigilators and examiners in MTech courses are from the respective colleges, external examiners from the university conduct viva voce, introduced this year.
The university has also sent special invigilators to a college in Durgapur, which too has been accused of adopting unfair exam practices, said Sengupta. The semester examinations started in all the colleges on December 2.
“The special invigilators have been asked to monitor how the college authorities conduct the MTech theory examination, especially those of biotechnology. They will report their findings to me,” added Sengupta.
Most of the students who failed to clear viva voce were of biotechnology.
If nothing wrong is found in the invigilation process, the university would try to find out whether there was any malpractice in the setting of question papers or the evaluation of the answer scripts, said Sengupta. “There must be some reason behind the students failing in viva voce despite scoring high marks in the semester exam.”
B.B. Paira, the director of Heritage Institute of Technology, ruled out malpractice in the invigilation or evaluation process. “We are known for transparency while conducing examinations. We have no problem with the university sending the special invigilators to our college,” said Paira.
The director of technical education had asked the university on October 27 to explain the reasons behind detaining the candidate, who is supposedly close to law minister Malay Ghatak. The personal secretary to the education minister, Koushik Basak, allegedly called up Sengupta on November 23 to request him to promote her.
The detained student is supposed to appear for the first semester examination again but is not doing so, said Paira.