Numerous exam-related and other goof-ups aside, the University of Mumbai has jumped to the 131st position, from last year's 140th, in the 2014 Quacquarelli Symonds World Ranking-Asia. A total of 17 Indian universities are in the list of the top 300 institutes.
The National University of Singapore (NUS) has topped, South Korea's Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology is second and University of Hong Kong third.
MU has got an overall score of 44.6 based on nine key indicators — academic reputation (30%), faculty-student ratio (20%), employer reputation (10%), citation per faculty (15%), research paper per faculty (15%), international faculty (2.5%), international students (2.5%), inbound exchange of students (2.5%) and outbound exchange of students (2.5%).
The news, however, has left everyone amused, including varsity's top officials. They usually defer queries on working days but on Wednesday, a holiday, they issued a press release to highlight the "achievement".
Students, senators and faculty, on the other hand, have accused varsity officials of complete collapse of almost all departments, particularly the exam house.
"The university system has collapsed. Hundreds of engineering students have been subjected to mental torture because of the faulty online assessment procedure. Many of us may lose our job offers too as we have been failed wrongly," said Zarin Sayed, a final year engineering student of Saboo Siddik College.
Sayed is among the 4,000 engineering students who were failed as most pages in their answer sheets were left unassessed in the online assessment system introduced in 2013-14.
A few months ago, 10,000 BMS students had failed a paper because the evaluators had been served a wrong answer-key. Long delays in revaluation as well as hall ticket fiascos are routine now.
Senator Sanjay Vairal has sought a separate senate session for the collapsed system alone. "Though the senate is conducted twice a year, students' issues haven't been highlighted amid other routine work.
That's why the system hasn't improved. We need a separate session to address students' issues."
It has also been alleged that varsity's top officials have never been transparent in case of any fiasco. "They continue to deny the issue and seek to defend the outsourcing firm until the governor pulls them up," said Vairal who also alleged large-scale malpractices in the appointment of teachers, non-teaching staff and approval of colleges.
Also, it is said that approaching vice chancellor Rajan Welukar, who still faces a charge of under-qualification, is tougher to reach than the prime minister. Even on Wednesday, his phone was switched off though he was in the city.
Pro vice chancellor Naresh Chandra, however, said, "The ranking has bettered and you must be proud of it. Why don't you see the positive?"