The Delhi University Teachers’ Association wrote to the Prime Minister for immediate relief for over 4 lakh final-year DU students and for an alternate grading formula for the semester based on past performance and internal assessment/ project/ assignment done for the semester.
On 30th June 2020, DUTA wrote a letter to the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri. Narendra Modi, seeking his intervention for the cancellation of the Open Book Examinations that are to be held by the Delhi University (DU).
This is the second time the organizational body has written to the Prime Minister regarding the pressing issue of open book examinations, the first being on 17th June 2020 when the DUTA had communicated to him through an Online Petition signed by more than 15,000 teachers, students and parents.
In the letter, the body has expressed their despondency on the fact that despite great opposition by both the students and teachers who constitute the major stakeholders of the system, the university still stands firm on its decision to conduct examinations based on the open book format.
“It is extremely unfortunate that the University has ignored the academic reasons for our opposition to this exercise. Neither is the University administration willing to consider the situation prevailing in the country due the pandemic, despite the indications given by the Hon’ble Minister of HRD, who in his tweet on 24.6.2020 advised the UGC to revisit the guidelines for conduct of examinations keeping in mind the health and safety of students, teachers and staff,”DUTA
In the letter, the teachers’ body also recapitulated its concerns regarding the open book examinations format stating that it was “highly discriminatory” and that it “erodes the sanctity” of the examinations process as it promotes use of unfair means.
“The proposed examinations are not only undesirable but also unwarranted. Further, the decision itself is in violation of statutory processes and procedures,” said the teachers’ body in the letter.
The DUTA demanded that the university must opt for some alternate evaluation method based on past performance and internal assessments undertaken in the current semester, by highlighting how several State and Central Universities have adopted similar systems, in order to ensure the grant of degrees by 31 July to all graduating students of the university.
In the letter, the DUTA also referred to the university’s decision to conduct open book examinations as “mindless experimentation” which has created a “wave of panic” across the university.
“The exponential increase in the COVID-19 cases across the country has deepened the crisis for students and their families. Many of our students are stranded, quarantined and are battling with illnesses to self and their family members. By forcing students to travel to these Centers to take the OBE examinations, the University is putting their lives and that of their families to great risk. Some students had even made travel plans according to the schedule announced and are now in a quandary,”DUTA
The DUTA also brought to attention the poor condition of the Common Service Centers (CSCs) as expressed by the students living in remote localities. “Students have reported that the Common Service Centres (CSC), which the students in remote areas are relying upon, are not functional or well maintained,” exclaimed the teachers’ body.
Through the letter, it appealed to the Prime Minister to intervene and provide relief from mental stress and agony that the students were suffering from due to the university’s decision to conduct open book examinations.
Feature Image Credits: Saubhagya Saxena for DU Beat