The University Of Delhi on Friday, 29th May 2020, released a tentative date sheet for open book examinations for all final year students and ex- students of regular colleges and departments as well as those registered with NCWEB and School of Open Learning.
As per the date sheet uploaded on the official website of the University Of Delhi, the university will conduct the examinations for students in the Choice Based Credit System (2015-2017) from 1st July to 11th July. For the final-year B.Sc. students of Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and others, exams will be conducted from 1st July 2020. But for B.A. Honours and B.Com. Honors final-year students, exams begin on 2nd July, 2020. The final-year students who have backlog in their previous semesters also are to re-appear for the same as per the schedule of the examinations along with the VIth semester examinations.
The decision of the University of Delhi to conduct online open book examinations has come in the midst of criticism. The University had released a notification on their official website on 14th May, regarding the conduct of examinations for final year students in which it mentioned the possibility that online open-book examinations may be held for the final year students if the Covid-19 situation doesn’t improve. This was criticized by teachers and student bodies who called it ‘discriminatory’ and ‘unfair’. The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) had also said that the University of Delhi was very large and consisted of students coming from diverse backgrounds, due to which online open-book exams wouldn’t be a viable option. A group of university teachers have also written to the President Shri. Ram Nath Kovind regarding this issue, voicing their concerns for the students belonging to scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes, economically weaker section, and those with disabilities who may be placed on the disadvantaged side of the digital divide if online open book examinations are conducted.
In an online statement, Abha Dev Habib of the DUTA said, “Despite opposition to Open Book Examination and survey of over 51,000 students, which shows that any form of examination at this juncture will be discriminatory, DU goes ahead to announce date sheet! Over 90% students had voted against examinations! DU chooses to ignore alternatives suggested by several Departments and DUTA.It is important to see connection between the MHRD’s push for examination for the terminal semester students and the speed with which the VC, Prof Yogesh Tyagi, is pushing OBE. DU is once again being used as a Laboratory for “reforms”, this time to push a discriminatory and dishonest examination system. DU releases date sheets today! Errors in this date sheet show how hurried the exercise is!!”
The notification released by the university had also led to widespread protests in the student community with ‘#DUAgainstOnlineExams’ trending on twitter and thousands of e-mails sent by the university students to the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court asking them to take Suo-moto cognizance of the issue and direct the university to take a more understanding stance towards the future of the students. Further, an overwhelming majority of students (85%) voted against online open book examinations in a survey cum referendum launched by the DUTA to understand the concerns of the university students which had got more than 51,000 responses in 48 hours. Apart from the lack of access to internet resources, students have also voiced other concerns like inability to concentrate on studies due to environment at home or anxieties caused by livelihood or health issues.
As a result, the University of Delhi, is facing continued criticism and opposition by student and teacher bodies on releasing the tentative date sheet for conduct of open book examinations. The Academics For Action and Development (AAD) said in a press statement ‘We are pained that our students are treated as guinea pigs to an unprecedented examination mode with a tentative date sheet.’ They furthered added ‘This switch from one mode of examination to another mode is in violation of our rules and regulations and our commitment to students. The students have taken admission in a particular examination scheme and now can’t be altered unilaterally.’ Numerous errors have also been pointed out in the tentative date sheet released leading to speculations on the callous and hurried attitude of the university in regard with conduct of examinations.
Featured Image Credits: The New Indian Express