CUTOFFS
Source: Telegraph India

Delhi University’s decision to take online ‘open book’ exams of undergraduate and postgraduate final year students is highly condemned by teachers and student bodies. 

After it was announced by Delhi University that this time, final year students of both, undergraduate and postgraduate courses will give an online mode of “open book” exams, teachers, as well as student bodies, as opposed to the decision. They called it ‘discriminatory’ which would keep a large number of students in anxiety. 

In the “open book” examination, students would be allowed to use the books, notes or any study material to answer the questions. The students need to download the question paper of their respective subjects from the web portal of DU and upload the answer scripts after the duration of two hours. This would be executed sitting in the home itself.

Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) calls the system of holding the online examination as ‘discriminatory’ and ‘unfair’. The Association also put up a letter to Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University, expressing the contention with the move.

“It is not viable for a big University like DU, with its diverse student population, and it is shocking that the diversity has adopted it as the only form. We demand that the pen-paper option be provided to all students,” DUTA told.

It is recommended that the institute should consider the option to provide Provisional Degrees to its students, which would be based on students’ Cumulative Grade Points Average of the previous five semesters. 

The concept of an ”open-book” examination is quite varied from the kind of tests our students are used to. Springing this ugly surprise on them in such adverse and anxious times will expand the anxiety of large sections of students, especially since the normal teaching-learning process has been hindered due to the pandemic,” the teachers’ body further added.

Delhi University Executive Committee member Rajesh Jha, with some other members of the council, has also written to the VC over the issue. 

“ This unilateral move to regulate remote open book exams to be attempted at home by the students of Delhi University will push higher education towards privatization by degrading its degrees and diminishing their rigor. The education of DU and its examination system are neither developed nor cultivated for open book examinations and those too to be taken at one’s own home,” they said. Moreover, they put up issues regarding cybercrime and internet availability related problems. 

The Indian National Teachers’ Congress( INTEC) also mooted the suggestion of evaluating CGPA on the criteria of internal assessment marks and previous semester scores.

“Open book exams are organized not only to test the conceptual understanding of the pupils but also their capacity to apply these concepts in real-life conditions. Open book online exams need an entirely changed patterned question paper. Students and teachers are never taught for this process of executing exams in our institute,” Pankaj Garg, INTEC convener told.

Out of total DU students, 45 percent are from outstation and a pa prominent portion of them belongs to rural areas, where the internet is a major issue.

“These outstation pupils had gone to their homes during semester break without carrying along with their books and notes. Also, students residing in northeastern India and Jammu and Kashmir do not have proper access to the Internet,” Garg stated.

He also said that an Academic Council meeting should be summoned over the issue as there is no provision for this kind of online examination in the ordinances.

In the Students’  bodies, The Left Back All India Association ( AISA) said that conduction of online mode of examination is not reasonable for the wide diaspora of DU students.

AISA has currently conducted a survey which states that 74 percent of the total students were against holding online mode of examination.

“In a time of health catastrophe, the DU governing body must take into account the students coming from the marginal category of the society. Students have referred to various reasons such as connectivity, resources, nonavailability of material, and online classes for rejecting online exams. The voice of students should be listened to,” it stated.

The AISA has conducted a social media campaign 

#DUagainstonlineexams on 15 May.

 The NSUI asserted that first and second-year students will be promoted, depending upon the previous semester result and the last year’s student evaluation will be based on past results and be given an extra 10 percent since  3rd year students need to score more.

“When we say it is an online open-book test then it is profitable to those who have access to experts and or a teacher.  One can pay money to get test solved through with the help of experts. It doesn’t seem to me as a workable, viable option in DU and it has less creditability,” he added. 

-Varsha Verma 

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