As online OBE nears, students are crying foul over the situation of Common Service Centers (CSCs) which are either shut, too far, crowded or absent.
Simultaneous to the online mock test glitches, DU students from across the country are coming up with complaints against not being able to access the services of Common Service Centres (CSCs) in order to take the online mock tests.
With concerns being raised over internet connectivity and network issues faced by several students, the Delhi University administration on June 22 had released a notification stating that the varsity has engaged the CSC academy under the aegis of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEIT), Government of India, so that students with either limited or no network and hardware facility can appear for the Open Book Examination (OBE) without the payment of any fee. As per DU, there are more than 2 lakh functional CSCs located at almost all gram panchayats across the country. The notification also comprised of links to locate the nearest CSCs and several contacts in case of any doubts/clarifications. The move was specially meant to protect the interests of students from Jammu and Kashmir and North – eastern states.
However, students have reported that as they went to or called up the CSCs referred by the university, they had to face disappointment as some are turning them away on grounds of not being notified by the administration about any examinations or mock tests, while others do not even exist or are unresponsive. Most CSCs are shut owing to the pandemic and the owners have refused to let the students avail the facilities as they are afraid to take any risk. Some also suffer from overcrowding, leaving students with lack of internet facilities devoid of requisite resources for attempting online OBE.
Talking to DU Beat, Raushan Kumar, a third year student from Satyawati College, who is currently residing in Gopalganj, Bihar, shares, “ I am still not aware of any CSCs near my home, and the ones that I know are in a very poor condition. They lack sanitation and are usually crowded with people coming there for various purposes. If the electricity goes off, we are told, it will be not be their responsibility. With cases of COVID -19 increasing every day, am I supposed to risk myself and my family? The administration says that students with technical issues can give their exams when the situation is better. This is blatant discrimination and not at all a solution. My classmates from Assam and Uttar Pradesh also complain about not having books and the rent exaction calls we have been receiving from our landlords. We are helpless and forcefully being made completely dependent on technology while being provided with no facilities or any viable options.” A few days back Rajesh Jha, a member of DU’s Academic Council shared an image of a CSC in Jharkhand, which was crowded with people and did not appear to provide the appropriate environment required for attempting any examination.
Apparently, in the ‘Step – by – Step Guide for using the DU Portal for Open Book Examination’ released by the examination branch, the facility of CSC is only for days when appearing for examination. In other words, mock tests, meant to familiarize students with the procedure of online OBE, are only for students with a secure internet connection. The discriminatory nature and inefficiency of online OBE and the unpreparedness of DU administration which is being called out by students, teachers and various political groups for a long time now is highlighted again. However, questions do arise that with just four days to go for the first OBE, will the CSCs’ facilities be made available? Are they well equipped for the students to conveniently give exams? With students’ anxieties and fears increasing every day, the administration must address and allay them as soon as possible.
Feature Image Credits: Rajesh Jha, DU Academic Council