The qualifying chemistry examination held for the master’s programme has come under scrutiny for breach of secrecy. Students suspect malicious intent by the Head of the Department.
The question under attack
In the inorganic chemistry examination, students of semester IV in the varsity’s M.Sc. (Chemistry) course were asked a 10-mark question — “Write a brief note about the presentation assigned to you in class.”
This question became problematic as each student had prepared a unique presentation and answer sheets for semester-end papers that are checked internally.
Students incriminate HOD
During the month of March, students and teachers alleged Prof. Ramesh Chandra, the head of the department, to have sexually harassed them. This led to a protest by the students, and a student in a statement to The Indian Express said, “We have already been threatened once — that we will be failed for protesting. Now this question intends to victimise us when we are in the last year of our masters’ degree. We had written to the examination department but nothing happened.”
Alarmed, a total number of 118 students had raised a complaint to the Dean of Examinations asking them to bar a few professors suspected to err in an unbiased marking scheme. Their request was ignored and the examination was held on May 9, regardless.
Ramesh Chandra’s response
In response to the alleged bias, Prof. Ramesh Chandra told The Indian Express, “Questions are set by teachers in the department and evaluated by them, so writing about the project is not going to cost students anything. They protested against the issue but that issue is over. Why would I want to identify them? Everything is done as per merit and a select few are politicising the issue.”
University policy to prevent bias
The varsity has set norms and procedures to prevent any bias from either side of the examination by removing identifiable aspects such as name and internally assigned roll number from answer sheets before they are sent for evaluation.
According to Ordinance X-A, “deliberately disclosing one’s identity or making any distinctive mark in the answer book for that purpose.” is considered as unfair and dishonest means. The applicability of said ordinance to the question in scrutiny and its consequence remains unclear.
Feature Image Credits: Dept. of Chemistry, DU