As the results are out, nightmarish stories of students scoring a zero on their mark-sheets emerge. The question remains- are such major human errors forgivable?

Over the years, the checking and rechecking process at the Delhi University (DU) for its semester exams has been a subject of great disappointment. This year too, stories of some major discrepancies between the marks expected by the students and the marks they have scored have arisen, but the most shocking is the story of nine girls scoring an absolute zero in their fifth semester.

On 22nd January, 2019 the results for 3rd year students of BA (Honours) History were declared. Nine girls from Jesus and Mary College scored a zero in their transcripts in the paper named ‘Modern Europe’. The girls have consecutive roll numbers, and sit consecutively in the examination hall as well.

One of the students told DU Beat- “Firstly, it’s almost next to impossible to score a zero in a theory subject; it’s only possible if you leave the whole answer sheet blank. Secondly, it’s the fifth semester for those girls; they can’t afford to have this major discrepancy in their transcripts. Girls have to apply for higher studies, some aspire to go out of India, and deadlines are approaching really fast.” Similar stories have also been heard from Human Resource Management (HRM) courses at the College of Vocational Studies and in the History Departments of Maitreyi College and Dyal Singh College. Two History students from St. Stephen’s College also got a zero in their mark-sheet.

When asked for a comment, the administration and authorities did not respond to DU Beat. Such scores in a student’s mark-sheets are a blot on their already uncertain future, and undoubtedly do not help with their forthcoming endeavours. The revaluation procedure at Delhi University is a challenge in itself. Some call it a money-minting process which takes half a semester to revalue and recheck mark-sheets, and has an overly underwhelming response. Ms. Maya John, a Professor at the History Department of JMC was of the view that, “It is extremely unfortunate that over the years, the exam reforms have only lead to a rise in the revaluation costs.”

The Professor went on to clarify that at the moment, teachers and departments have encouraged students who scored low and were expecting higher marks, to send representatives from their respective colleges and departments. The Department of History, North Campus, and the South Campus branches have been informed of the same. She also added, “It is extremely crucial that an impartial enquiry is held into this matter since it is largely unfair for all those and have been coerced to spend thousands on revaluation fee.”

In order to prevent an unjustified and undeserved backlog, a fast-track result of the aforementioned procedure is integral.

Such technical glitches are plausible, but their quantity has increased over the years. These errors not only show the University in a bad light, but also disturb mental and physical peace of many students and their families. Being the foundations of education, it’s high time that these institutions take necessary steps in ensuring correct and timely checking and rechecking of answer sheets, to prevent losses in the students’ future endeavours.

Image Credits: Collegedunia

Sakshi Arora

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A lecturer at Netaji Subhash Institute of  Technology (NSIT) has alleged the Dean of Undergraduate Studies of using “illegal” means to reduce the marks of some of the students in the subject of Environmental Science.


Surendra Kumar Yadav, a lecturer of Environmental Science (FE-006) at NSIT, recently wrote a letter to Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi, and Manish Sisodia, the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, regarding issues with the marks of students in the subject.


The letter, dated 4th September 2018, stated that he had awarded decent marks to all his students, however, the Dean of Undergraduate Studies of the college, Dr Sujata Sengar, reduced the marks of some students through unfair means due to her “biases” against the students.


The course is set up for students in their second and fourth semester of BE Undergraduate Programme. At the end of the semesters, after the lecturer’s signature, the final mark sheet needs to be signed by the dean. However, Yadav alleges that she refused to sign it, and the papers evaluated and checked by him were sent for rechecking intentionally, so that the final score of some students could be reduced.

He further says that the Director of the college was also involved in the same, as he is like a “puppet in her hands.” Yadav obtained the two different mark sheets by filing an RTI after some of his students told him that they had not scored well despite their hard work. The two different mark sheets were attached with the letter to the authorities.


The letter further requested the authorities to take an action against the dean or she would “spoil the career of many such students due to her biases”. Yadav proposed the formation of an inquiry committee consisting of people not associated with NSIT, under the chairmanship of a retired judge, to look into the matter. Though the authorities have not replied to the letter yet, Yadav hopefully told DU Beat that “they must be doing something”.


He has been barred from teaching for the current semester, and says it is due to the dean’s “anarchy”.


DU Beat tried contacting Yadav for the names and the contact details of the students who have suffered in the situation, but to no avail.


A student in the third year of Electronics and Communication Engineering, on the condition of anonymity, told DU Beat about the general discord and negativity in the institution with respect to the Dean.


When DU Beat contacted Sengar, she said “I certainly refuse the allegations. However, I am not in a position to comment on this, as of now.”


Khyati Sanger

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Nikhil Kumar

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DU students once again, were on the losing end due to nonchalant teachers and unconcerned office staff.

The incident happened in Sri Venkateswara College, with the students of 3rd year English Hons. when teachers of two subjects- Literary Theory and English Literature 5 muddled up the internal marks. This lead to an overall reduction of two marks in each of these subjects out of the total of 25 marks for internals. The teachers who were supposed to give marks out of 4 sets (out of which an aggregate is taken) only gave marks for 3 sets and hence the reduction in the aggregate. The office staff did not bring this to the teachers’ notice and conveniently entered the wrong marks into the system, leaving the 4th column blank. All students of Literary Theory (which is an optional paper) suffered, while the teacher of English Literature 5 simply overlooked a sheet and one third of the class ended up getting the wrong aggregate.

“Students had noticed the glitches before the college had sent out the marks to the university. But office people were highly uncooperative, at times rudely talking to us and even chucking us out of the office.” Said Kriti Talwar, one of the many students who lost out on marks. The office staff only noticed the errors once the marks had been sent out to the university. Apparently the anomaly had occurred in other departments as well and nothing was done until it was too late, and marks had been forwarded to the University.

A committee was set up to look into the matter much later. “We were asked to fill a form and then come back and ask in a month’s time. Recently the Vice Principal informed me that the cases sent to the University had been sent back, and they’d refused to address these. Vice Principal asked me if I had any contacts in the University I said, no. He said, “Phir toh kuch nahi ho sakta. Find a contact and get it done.” Kriti said.

Additionally, some students involved in the various societies did not get marks for attendance. Students now have given up.


Anugrah Gopinath
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Picture credits: Sapna Mathur

After the overnight reduction in marks of students, this is the second time Delhi University has messed up marks of first year students. Two second year students of Indraprastha College for Women, the Mass Communication department suffered due to university negligence as they were marked absent for two exams which they actually sat for, thus getting ERs in those subjects.

When the web results were displayed, there were ERs against their names for two subjects. It was only after they were handed the mark sheet that they discovered their ERs were not due to bad performance but because their papers never reached the examiners and thus they were marked absent. Perplexed, they went to the examination officer of IP college Mr. Aakash, as advised by their teacher.

Akanksha Chitkara, one of the girls who suffered said that she was so disappointed to see an ER in the same paper for which she got a merit certificate in class 12, and could not believe her eyes. Both the girls were flabbergasted as neither expected ERs.

They were asked to write an application and attach photocopies of their mark sheets, attendance proof and ID cards to it and send it to the university office. “When we told the officer at the university about what happened and gave him our application, he just nonchalantly tossed it aside and asked us to come after 15 days” said a dejected Akansha Chitkara. There have received no word since that day.

The overnight reduction of marks, the mix up of question papers and now this fiasco. The question it raises is whether DU is equipped to handle the semester system. The university will have to tread carefully in future and avoid such blunders.


According to Abha Dev Habib, of the DUTA, the “once so called ‘reform’ forced on the teaching community at the behest of the MHRD, the semester system at the undergraduate level has been categorically and unequivocally rejected by the teachers. The experience of semesterized courses in the last one and half years has confirmed our worst fears about severe academic dilution and adverse effect on teaching-processes and co-curricular activities. This has crippled the intellectual, cultural-emotional and holistic growth of students. The worst affected are students from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

It is being believed that to cloak the disastrous impact of semesterization on the performance of students, the DU administration has resorted to irrational inflation of marks which has put a question mark on the credibility of our results and will result in devaluing of the degree. The new moderation formula has worked against all students thus having the teachers at DU exercised over this marks scam.

The marks scam has purportedly happened at three levels:

(i) Meetings were held in many Departments to unofficially decide a reduced syllabus for setting exam papers. The question papers were made as easy, the format of the exam papers was changed giving students maximum chance.

(ii) The examiners were instructed to mark leniently.

(iii) The last straw on camel’s back was to moderate all marks by the same token. Earlier moderation was case-wise. This time, blanket moderation was done, without a prior and proper tabulation of results, and analysis of the same.

Nandita Narian of the Maths Department at St. Stephen’s College, who was also an examiner, tells how earlier in the meeting in the Maths Department, the syllabi were unofficially reduced and later there was imminent pressure from the DU Exam Branch to mark students leniently.

The proposal to semesterize the postgraduate courses was passed in Academic Council meeting of February 2008 and the decision was implemented from July 2009. The results of postgraduate courses, which have not been tampered by the DU administration to that extent, reconfirm the opinion that the semester system works against the inclusion policies. The failure rate has increased in the postgraduate Departments as students with disadvantaged backgrounds fail to cope in the semester system.

These issues have also been highlighted in the Memorandum of Protest by the examiners of the History department who have written to Dr. Jaggi, the Controller of Examinations saying that this “ we protest against this un- academic way of moderating results that has diluted academic standards and has made a mockery of the evaluation process undertaken seriously and sincerely by us.” and the memo was signed by 14 examiners of the same department.

Click on the following links for more information

Moderation Patterns in DU Final Exams– By Abha Dev Habib

Memorandum of Protest _History



Ensuing soon after the declaration of the Semester 1 results by Delhi University for their course, was the row over the preternaturally high scores that the students had managed to achieve this time around, raising question marks over the veracity of these scores and their value.

In a recent development, teachers from the Department of Economics and the Department of Germanic and Romance studies have filed protests in the office of the Controller of Examinations against these apparently bloated results. The results in the Economics (H) exam went up to as high as 99% and in the Germanic and Romance studies exams to 96.6% and 86.6% in the respective papers

“We strongly protest against this un-academic way of moderating results that has diluted academic standards and has made a mockery of the evaluation process undertaken seriously and sincerely by us,” the letter reads.

These reports have been confirmed by Saikat Ghosh, DUTA Executive Member who goes onto explain that the crux of the problem with these results lies that they have been moderated to such an extent that they have not been deemed correct and thus is in fact detrimental to the faith placed in the result evaluation procedure of DU.

He expounds that usually, the moderation as a process is a meticulous and intricate one, which involves the tabulation of marks in the primary step of the evaluation ladder which is followed up with identification of the ‘border- line’ cases. Once the red- ink separates these results from the hordes of the other scores, the marks that these particular exam- takers had secured in their Internal Assessments is taken into account and if the student is found worthy of a couple or more of grace marks, then they do get added on to his or her result. It is not a blanket formula, applied to all and sundry, something that the results this semester end seem to contradict. Also the principle for moderation has to be adopted by the Academic Council of the University of Delhi and only then is credence accorded to it.

As Mr. Ghosh informs us, the issue with the moderations this time has been that the tabulation had never been done and the teachers seem to have been told to moderate results freely by the Controller of Examinations, Dr. Jaggi, who in turn has passed the buck onto the Vice- Chancellor saying that the order had indeed come from higher quarters. “We have ample reason to believe that the results have been fudged” asserts Mr. Ghosh.

The DUTA has demanded an impartial probe into this matter and will adopt a resolution regarding the same in its General Body meeting on 31 January, 2012.


‘Cecilia you’re breaking my heart, you are shaking my confidence daily.’ This ancient Simon and Garfunkel classic resonated the feeling of restlessness and anxiety being experienced by the students of LSR till a few days ago. Make no mistake; it was no fair haired maiden but the moderation committee which was overseeing the correction of mid-term examination papers that had the students sinking into the depths of uncertainty.

Marking during internal evaluation has been a much debated topic in LSR. Students often complain about the stringent hand that college deals them while their counterparts in North Campus colleges are supposedly marked rather leniently which results in them scoring higher overall percentages.

This year the sudden need of moderation of internal marks of students in the annual mode may be a consequence of uncharacteristically brilliant results of the students under the ‘glorious’ semester system. While some students believed that moderation may help stabilize their marks as different teachers have varied marking patterns others opined that the delay in returning the answer scripts to their rightful owners was merely because teachers hadn’t corrected the answer scripts in time. However, the truth remains that the students of the English department of LSR had not received the answer scripts of the mid-term examination that they appeared for a month ago till very recently.

Sakshi Ghai, a 3rd year student of Philosophy was a recent victim of this sadistic mechanism. “After having scored 91 in my one of my papers I was shocked to hear my teacher contemplating reducing 4 marks in each question post moderation.” she said. It is important to note that it is only students studying theoretical subjects who would be affected by moderation. Meanwhile, students who chose to tread the path of ‘ignorance is bliss’ were delighted with the delay in knowing their impending fate.

The suspense created by the examiners was a heady one although anticlimactic in nature for many. “The hue and cry about moderation was for nothing as it hasn’t reflected in my marks at all.” Confessed Adilah Ismail, a 2nd year student of English Literature.

The moderation mayhem may have affected students of various departments differently but it has taught them an important life lesson which is to approach life with a tinge of irony instead of heroism or despair.

Pragya Lal
[email protected] 


Einstein while explaining his relativity theory of time gave the example of how one hour with a gorgeous woman seems like a second and a second at a boring conference seems like an hour. Similarly, a fifty minute lecture with a teacher can vary from seeming like two minutes to fifty hours and in the case of the latter, you are sitting in the class wishing desperately to get out but you cannot! Why? Because DU rules say that five per cent of your score is determined by your attendance. This rule compels so many of us to attend boring lectures where we have no interest in the subject or as is more common, where we are blessed with a wonderful teacher who manages to completely kill our interest in the subject. They say that this rule is necessary so that the teacher does not have to face an empty classroom. I find that attitude defeatist. At the age of 18 (when most of us enter college), do they really think that we have the wisdom to choose which MPs will govern us but not have the intelligence to decide which classes we must attend? As it is, we do not have too much choice regarding the subjects we wish to study in the Indian system. At least in college we should be able to assert our choice. The argument about no one attending classes if we do not have marks for it falls on its head when we look at what a truly great teacher can do. At a very famous DU college a professor’s classes are so famous that while he’s teaching even the window sills in the lecture room are filled with kids. People turn up even when they know they will get absolutely no marks for attending, so surely if the teaching standard is great students will turn up. On the other hand, if students attend classes just for the sake of marks but pay no attention in class, does that really help anyone at all? When teachers know that to avoid teaching empty classrooms they’d have to earn it, wouldn’t it raise the level of teaching? Doesn’t this give us an instrument of protest against bad teaching? If the authorities do decide to accord some respect to our ability to make our own choices they’ll realize for a fact that most students are in fact quite keen on actually learning and it will encourage a love for learning.

At the end of the day, keeping aside all debates on the efficiency of exams and the process of checking, aren’t our marks supposed to be a reflection of how deeply we understand the subject? Does attending a few lectures less than the other person really translate into having a deeper understanding? I doubt that. Doling out marks for attendance only limits our choices. And as an Economist has famously said, limiting my choices mostly limits my happiness.


Popular culture would have us believe that college life is one joyride with having fun being the only objective of students and studies being some vague entity they are hardly concerned with. Bunking classes in the higher interest of Chilling and contributing to the friendly neighbourhood chaatwala’s revenue is but natural and classrooms are there only to accommodate all the furniture. Most of us would like to believe in this romanticized version of college life and consider the attendance rule a major bubble-burster, but what we seem to be forgetting is that DU is an educational institution with teaching and learning being the primary aim and for this aim to be achieved, a few rules are necessary.

Let’s face it. If it weren’t for the lure of the 5 extra marks reserved for those with an attendance of 85% or more, most of us would definitely not have attended as many classes as we do presently. Though everyone grumbles about this regulation, they fail to realize that it is not a compulsion but an incentive. You have the freedom to bunk as many classes as you want without losing any marks at all. The university doesn’t punish those who fail to turn up for lectures, it only rewards those who do. I just don’t understand why anyone would have a problem with a rule that gives one extra marks merely for sitting around in classrooms.

Though 5 marks don’t seem like much right now, it can actually make a lot of difference in the larger scheme of things. 5 marks can convert a second division into a first, a fail into a pass, a commoner into a topper and so on. In short, five marks can make or break you. Instead of protesting against this ruling, students should be celebrating it and making the most of the opportunity. By imposing this regulation on us, the management is not curbing our rights, but broadening our scope to score marks. The rule, far from being a pain, is actually a blessing in disguise.

Admittedly, sitting under the fan in a classroom doesn’t really test any skill (except, perhaps one’s patience) and therefore deserves no extra marks. But in this way, the regulation is an equalizer. It cuts through all intellectual barriers, for once giving the average student the chance to score just as much the topper with sheer determination and well, endurance.

Summing up, the attendance rule is just a harmless, democratic tool to ensure that classrooms don’t remain empty and makes life a lot easier for the majority of us. It’s time we stopped objecting to every little rule and instead, start figuring out how to make them work us instead.

(This article has been equally contributed by Shraddha and Aina)

Fourth year in the running, despite vehement protests, the students of Delhi University continue to face the problem of marks moderation. The issue is that there is actually no sound basis for this moderation and not all colleges have been subject to it.

Ever since results have been declared for the annual year 2008 – 2009, infuriated students from well known colleges of the north and south campus have been protesting outside the Vice chancellor’s office demanding an explanation for the scaling down of their marks.

The list of colleges affected include Sriram Ram College Of Commerce, Lady Sri Ram College for Women , MirandaHouse, Gargi and Jesus and Mary College .In most of these colleges, both the students and staff ,have actively participated in the remonstration against the allegedly baseless moderation of marks. Almost all departments have faced this problem.

In the mathematics department of LSR, a minimum of 8 marks has been lopped off for most students, which is a loss of almost three percent. The Economics , English and Sociology departments have lost a minimum of four marks .In Delhi University where competition is so stiff, the moderation affects students’ university ranking. Students from these colleges have also lost out on first divisions as a consequence of this The philosophy department of MH has been of the victim not only this year but also the year before this. This moderation especially happens in Logic, which is the most scoring subject of the department. Last year, 5 marks had been deducted from the logic paper in spite of the paper being scoring. This year, a lot of students had to bear the brunt as marks have been cut left, right and centre. A student from the Philosophy dept, 2nd year adds on ” We did not expect this to happen. I myself had got 22 in my internal assessment but now my marks are scaled down to 14. Philosophy is as it is not a very scoring subject and logic is the only paper where we can fetch high marks, but sadly this has been very shattering”.

Regular protests in the form of dharnas have been held outside the Vice Chancellor’s office. Statistical proof has been presented. Concerned authorities reasoned out the scaling by saying that the system is unbiased and is done in colleges and for students whose college average of marks show a great amount of aberrance from the university average of marks. A message was also passed on from the Dean of Students Welfare that it was impossible to revert the marks but from the following year a bigger moderation committee would be formed in order to avoid such problems. This announcement was met with even greater objection because the idea of these protests was the abolition of such a committee.

Also marks for the students with low college averages have been scaled down and hence the logic of uniform marking doesn’t hold either. The students are now demanding a rational basis for these steps from the Vice Chancellor.