Adding to the current controversy over conducting of examinations online for students of Delhi University, a dean wrote to the Vice-Chancellor suggesting against it.
Sachin Maheshwari, the Dean of Faculty of Technology at Delhi University (DU) on Wednesday, 24th April wrote to the Vice Chancellor highlighting issues with online modes of education and recommended alternative routes.
With reference to the efforts of faculty members to provide academic resources through digital means, Mr Maheshwari said that they could only supplement classroom teaching and had to be made available to all students. He said that many students will suffer due to a lack of access to computers, smartphones or high-speed internet. He also said that effective teaching and conducting of experiments could not take place through online modes.
Mr Maheshwari also raised concerns of a possible “rat race” wherein restoration of teaching-learning and online evaluation may be proclaimed for “nefarious reasons involving financial, political interests.” This could, thus, prove detrimental to academics, he argued.
He referred to the measures taken by other institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) which have advanced summer vacation, instead of going through online evaluations. He said that the need of the hour was to successfully weather the pandemic and make up for the lost time with “holistic team efforts” once the situation gets better.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) had constituted a seven-member committee, headed by Haryana University vice-chancellor R.C. Kuhad, to look into higher education matters such as examinations and continuing the academic session. However, as reported by The Print, this committee also seems to be against the idea of conducting online exams, as it feels India does not have the required infrastructure for it.
The committee was supposed to submit a report to the government by 13th April but hasn’t done so. But sources aware of the developments said the committee is not in favour of online examinations, a thought echoed by officials in the UGC as well. Instead, discussions are on to postpone exams until whenever colleges and universities can re-open.
An important to note is that the evaluation for papers of the odd semester is yet to be completed for several papers. Several members of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) has actively spoken out against online examinations and said that it will not beIt is imperative that the University Administration take a decision soon, keeping in mind the interests of all students and faculty members.
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Khush Vardhan Dembla