As DU Online Form Portal Crashes, Students Question Accessibility of Online Examinations

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While Delhi University’s online examination form portal crashes, students express uncertainty about appearing for end semester examinations if conducted online. 

On 20th of April 2020, Delhi University (DU) released a student portal to fill online examinations form. The portal appeared to be quite stressful for students as they battled with heavy traffic, constant crashes and unstable internet connectivity. Students were left in a state of uncertainty, doubt and obscurity regarding the conduction of online examinations for concluding 2019-20 Even Semester.

As the portal surrounds itself with internet issues, students question whether the online examinations can be successfully carried out in a social diversity like that of Delhi University. Paridhi Puri a student of Jesus and Mary College (JMC), spoke to DU Beat regarding her inaccessibility in operating the portal. “When the portal launched the day before yesterday, it immediately crashed. Even in Delhi, there are internet issues now due to exceeding the stipulated bandwidth. For about 30 minutes, I struggled to open a single link, which is highly irresponsible. The University infrastructure is not equipped to entertain an online form, how can they successfully conduct an online examination for 3 hours that too for so many subjects? It just shows how ill-equipped DU is.”

Another student from JMC who belongs to Kashmir, also shared, “If there are online exams, it will be very difficult for the students who are in Kashmir right because there is only 2G internet speed here. Sometimes we are able to attend all the classes and the connection is good but sometimes even in downloading a single page it takes a lot of time and effort. It is unpredictable . Even today during the Commerce exam there was a lot of problem, the connection was not proper and was getting disconnected again and again. And if in case the exams take place online and something like this happens it will be very very unfair for all the students who are in Kashmir right now. Normally even with 4G connection any error an occur , so obviously with only 2G internet connection the chances become double !”

However, Vinay Gupta, Dean of Examination Branch refutes such claims. He spoke with The New Indian Express, and said, “The university has not taken a decision yet to conduct online examinations. A student portal has been launched so that students can fill their examination forms. This online platform has been created due to the lockdown. Also, on the first day, due to heavy traffic, the website has been slow; it will function better in a day or two.”

As semester exams in Calcutta University prepare to be clubbed, DU too, hinted towards an online examination. Several students raised concerns about DU’s indifference towards the students’ social background. Vinitha Singh, a student from a village near Pali, Rajasthan, stays in a low network area. “We cannot even speak over the phone, very rarely we get reception and internet on the top floor. I am unable to attend online lectures, I doubt I’d be able to appear for online exams. I just hope they cancel.” 

Students pursuing commerce raise concern over online calculations while students from theoretical background question the typing speed required for a three-hour examination. Pankaj Kumar Garg, Mathematics professor, Convenor, INTEC and former member of the Academic Council, expresses his disapproval of the online examinations proposal. Speaking to The New Indian Express, “Given the various types of courses offered by the university, applying the same model for assessment is unjustified… Good typing speed is required for theoretical papers. By adopting this method, the university is creating an unequal playing field in which students from disadvantaged backgrounds wouldn’t be treated fairly,”

As several people leave their books back in Delhi, international students meet with other unavoidable circumstances. Nouresha, a student of Kamala Nehru College and a native of Mauritius feels paranoid about the future, “I came to my friend’s place in Haryana during the mid-semester break and got stuck here because of the lockdown. There’s barely internet connection here for me to talk to my parents back home. And maybe at the beginning of May, my country is going to airlift all the Mauritian students in India. And once back home, we’ll be in quarantine for I don’t know how many days.”

Kashmiri students remain in the dark regarding online examinations. Students with bare minimum internet connectivity, People with Disabilities (PwD) and a whole lot of students from disadvantaged backgrounds may be left out in case the University conducts examinations online. 

Feature Image Credits: Delhi University Website

Anandi Sen

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