Madras University to probe scam at study centres

Syndicate to discuss the issue and decide on forming an inquiry committee

The University of Madras will probe into how persons not registered with the institution for any programme wrote arrears examinations last December.

Initial inquiries revealed that 116 persons who had not been registered as students with the Institute of Distance Education had taken the examinations and were about to get the degrees.

Madras University Vice-Chancellor said the Syndicate would discuss the issue on Thursday and form an inquiry committee.

The University Grants Commission, in 2019, provided an opportunity to all candidates from 1980-81 to complete their course by taking the arrears exams. Based on the number of papers candidates cleared, they would either get degrees, diplomas or declared to have taken a certificate course.

The candidates were permitted to take the examinations twice — in December 2019 and then in May 2020. The examinations were delayed because of COVID-19 lockdown and held in December 2020 in online mode and candidates were permitted to take the exams from their home.

“There were anomalies when we started preparing the degree certificates. It appears to be the fault of some study centres. They enrol students and assign numbers,” said Controller of Examinations K. Pandian.

“We have not started probing how this happened. There are various kinds of issues here — candidates’ names may have been entered who may not have registered with the university or paid the fees. Until recently, there was no software to track student registrations. The study centres manually registered candidates. Now, those who have registered would only be able to pay the exam fees. With the exams being conducted online it became easy for the study centres to include unregistered candidates,” he said.

Since the university collected examination fees online, the dubious candidates had paid the exam fees and exam registration numbers were generated for them. Another official said the candidates could have approached the now defunct Institute of Distance Education study centres and generated numbers.

“We do not have digital record for candidates registered before 2018. When we started generating results, we found that they were not even students. These candidates could belong to before 2015. Since 2018, only candidates who have paid the first year fee can enter the portal for paying exam fee,” he said.

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