Chaos reigned supreme when 44,000 students turned up tocollect degree certificates on the 106th Convocation Day of the University of Pune (UoP) last Saturday.
This year, UoP had sent invites to 58,600 students from over 600 affiliated colleges through SMSes and email. However, never in their wildest dreams had they expected so many of them to make it to the event. UoP Vice-Chancellor Dr W N Gade admitted that he had not expected such a huge response. There are 10 faculties taught in colleges affiliated to the University of Pune.
“Every year, around 3,000 to 4,000 students come to the campus to collect their degree certificates,” said Gade. “The main reason for such a low turn out was that many would not be informed of the date. However, this year, we decided to invite every student personally by mail or through SMS.”
Around 1 pm on Saturday, thousand of students gathered - mainly at Commerce and Arts stalls — to collect their degree certificates. Expectedly, the UoP staff failed to manage the crowd and there was utter chaos at the stalls for at least 30 minutes.
“This is a learning experience for us and we have immediately adopted precautionary measures to keep such a situation under control. When we came to know of the situation, more manpower was immediately deployed at the spots and our officials kept things under control,” said Gade.
Rutuja Salunkhe, a Commerce student who had come to receive her degree, said, “There was major mismanagement at the degree distribution stall at the commerce section. Several students had to go back empty-handed, as the authorities abruptly announced that the remaining certificates would be given on Monday.”
The police constables did nothing to manage the crowd, she added. Some students, furious at the chaos and not getting their degree, ended up breaking some barricades and chairs.
“Many girls fainted as they had to stand in the sun for a long time,” Salunkhe added. “I was lucky enough to get my certificate the same day. However, several students, who had come from remote areas like Alaldi, Dehu, Yawat, and other districts, had to go back empty handed.”
Good intentions backfired
w The UoP has around 600 affiliated colleges of various faculties in districts of Pune, Ahmadnagar and Nashik. Till last year, the university was sending invitation letters for convocation by post. But many students were not receiving the letters and, as a result, very few would actually turn up to collect their degree certificates. To counter this issue and ensure maximum reach, the UoP decided to turn techno-savvy from this year and used emails and SMS invites.