A month before the engineering exam is set to commence, Mumbai University has decided to reduce the gap of four to seven days given between each paper for preparation.

After a meeting held recently, a university official issued directives to all colleges, informing them about the need for creating a slot of 45 days for internship post exams. The decision has caused panic among students who plan their studies taking those leaves into account. An online petition, started a day ago, already has close to 20,000 supporters.

A message forwarded by the university’s dean of science and technology, SK Ukrande on Sunday, read, “Examinations will be conducted in two slots. Regular examinations will be held in the first slot and the ATKT (allowed to keep term) exams in the second. There will be only a day’s gap between two successive papers of the semester.” The regular exams are likely to be held from May 7 to May 22, and repeaters’ exams from May 23 to June 7.

Students have been instructed to prepare themselves for the change in schedule and accordingly plan their studies. They have also been asked to plan for their internship in any industry from May 25 to July 7.

The All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) recently stated students should mandatorily undergo internship for 600 hours during their BE/B Tech programme. Mumbai University, therefore, wanted colleges to facilitate a 45-day period during every vacation in the four-year programme – for first, second, third and final year students.

But the practice of giving preparation time before each paper is being followed for several years. Students claim the decision has come at the end of semester and can make it difficult for them to prepare. Students are worried some papers may clash. A student who signed the petition said there was no point in condensing the time-table as it would affect passing percentage of engineering students, which is already poor. “It is not possible to revise conceptual subjects in one day,” said a student. Another said the university should have announced this decision at the start of semester. The petition on change.org states students are overloaded with assignments and experiments for most of the year and there is enough pressure on students having ATKT.

While the dean was unavailable for comment, Vinod Malale, spokesperson for the exam section, said the decision is not yet officially declared. “The university will take feedback from stakeholders,” he said. Another official said there was no point in dragging the engineering exam for a month when study leave is not given to students from any other programme. He added the university had recently shortened the timetable for TYBA exams too.

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