OBE System: A Harrowing Time for DU Students

The system of Open Book Examination (OBE) has had a major effect on the examination system of universities, including the Delhi University. However, the mismanagement in the conduct of these exams is having a major toll on the exam stress and anxiety of students. Many issues have been reported during the conduct of these exams which are creating a situation of panic and distress amongst the students.

The Delhi University is currently conducting its Open Book Examinations (OBEs) which commenced on 30th November 2021 for 3rd, 5th and 7th-semester students in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. These exams have been scheduled in two sessions every day, including some Sundays and are expected to go on till the end of December 2021. The onset of the exam season is bound to perdure tension and stress amongst the students, which is considered very common and habitual. But the system, unfortunately, has numerous setbacks which affect the students who are supposed to give these exams. 

The English examination which was conducted initially had an issue with its paper code which was later rectified and students were given extra time for the same. However, it did create worry as the students got confused with the subjects.

The students who had World Modern English writings as their paper, faced a major discrepancy as some students had already given that paper before, for it is an optional paper. When the paper was conducted again for the other students, they were given the same question paper. On being asked about the same, teachers told us to attempt the question paper. After an hour of writing, the teachers decided to change the question paper. Though our submission time was shifted from 2:30 pm to 4 pm, it was extremely tiring for me.

A student at the University of Delhi.

The lack of clarity and transparency between the administration, teachers and paper setters has caused discomfort for students. They are already giving exams in extraordinary circumstances and hence the conduct of these exams must aim at easiness and assistance of their mind space. However, negligence of the same is having an opposite effect. Another instance for the Chemistry examination was also reported.

A student sharing his OBE experience.

Thus, this is uncalled-for for the students who were punctual and true to the examination timings. Such instances prove how the OBE system requires quite a lot of changes to facilitate the smooth conduct of just and fair examinations. Apart from all these question papers and exam related queries, many logistic and technical glitches were reported as well. 

Inaccessibility, technical issues, inefficient portals and ill-prepared question papers are major loopholes of the OBE which have been reported, discussed and realised several times.  

Many students were unable to log in to the OBE portal due to unstable or weak internet connection, many were not able to submit their answer scripts in one go as the website would report Error: Gateway 504. They were hence quite panicky as they were trying to upload and submit the same. To solve and get out of the same, students have also tried reaching out to the concerned authorities, but not all of them have gotten back a response, increasing panic among the students. The problem becomes graver when it affects their result and overall GPA highlighted on their degrees. The lack of corrective actions by the authorities is thus extremely concerning for the students with their entire lives hanging by a thread because of unresolved discrepancies.

Mail from the Dean of Examination.

In response to all the arising issues and problems that students are facing, an email was received from the Dean Examination stating how “utmost care” is being taken but there still can be problems when it comes to questioning papers and students thus should not panic. 

The negligence of the administration cannot be justified as it is their duty and responsibility to help students give examinations on a portal that is accessible, easy to use and operable by all. However, the existing system is available to those who have the resources and are privileged enough, thus it neglects the other starta of the students who might not be well versed with all the resources like access to computers/laptops. Being on the other side of the end does not let one empathise with those who are going through the plight.

It is true when they say, you can’t experience somebody else’s occurrences. Over two years, the prolonged lockdown has taught us the essence of everything around us and has also expressed the idea of change being the only constant. With online education being a reality in India, its assessment system also needs to be designed and formulated in a way that benefits the students instead of causing them harm. Moreover, there is always an emotion of uncertainty clouded for students when it comes to online examinations. Sadly, the University is unable to clear the same, making it tougher for the students to deal with the ambiguity. 

A better experience is expected in the upcoming exams through properly addressing the problems that the students have faced in the recent set of examinations. OBEs might be a way out to conduct exams in an online mode, but their implementation needs improvement. The degree of improvement should also be able to resolve all arising issues so that students can give their examinations in the best way possible.

Read Also: Lessons From The Last OBE and Tips for The Upcoming One.

Feature Image Credits: Indian Express

Harshaa Kawatra

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