Exam Season

PWD Students Face Issues in Mock OBE

The Mock Online Book Exams (OBE) fails to accommodate measures for Persons With Disabilities (PWD) students.

Despite the opposition and criticism, the University of Delhi (DU) has decided to go ahead with the Open Book Exams (OBE). Around 2.5 lakh students will be appearing in the OBE which is set to begin on 10th July 2020. DU also decided to hold ‘mock exams’ for familiarising themselves with the process. However, students of the Persons with Disability (PWD) category were faced with additional issues as there were no measures to assist them in completing the mock exam.

Glitches and other technical issues were widespread issues among students. Hundreds of students complained about a variety of issues- difficulty in registering, accessing the sites, incorrect question papers, unavailability of paper for some subjects, etc.

“I am a B.Com student. When I logged in, I found there was no paper from my programme. In any case, I took some photos of my books and notes and tried to upload those to see if I would be able to do that. I assumed each answer comes to be around 9-10 pages long. Uploading these took me around 40 minutes as I had to create several different PDF files. When I finally tried to submit the file, I got a message saying ‘Gateway Timeout’ ”

Rashi Jain, Kirori Mal College told the Indian Express

The PWD students were further troubled as apart from the technical issues and glitches, they were only allowed 3 hours to complete their mock exams instead of the 5 hours that they are meant to receive. The additional two hours for the PWD students were not available, leading to even more difficulty and a rush in completing and uploading their answer sheets.

“We are supposed to be given five hours to attempt the paper but as soon as I downloaded my question paper, the three-hour timer began.”

A PWD student, Rajdhani College

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) also expressed concern stating, “The conduct of the exams through this mode by Delhi University has also completely ignored the fact that the blind and some other students would need a scribe to write their exam who will not be available in present scenario both because of the fear of life and adherence to social distancing norms.”

Hearing a petition to scrap the examinations for visually impaired students, the Delhi High Court had earlier ruled out the possibility of scrapping the exams altogether, saying that it was in the interest of the students. The Bar Council of India has stated that law students passing final semesters without exams may not be recognized as having completed their education. “Similar prejudices may arise on account of decisions taken by other professional bodies. It is, therefore, felt that it is in the interests of visually impaired students in the final year/semester/term to participate in the examination process devised by the DU,” the court declared. The Delhi High Court (HC) had earlier stated that it would not interfere with the University’s decision to hold open book online examinations for final year students. With the exam looming, students frantically try to prepare themselves while faced with all the technical and management issues. 

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Tashi Dorjay Sherpa