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Delhi University’s plans to hold online examinations in light of the nationwide lockdown and social distancing have come under fire from the Deans and Teachers.


The nationwide lockdown and social distancing rules mean that even if the lockdown were to be eased, examinations would not be possible. Under these circumstances, Delhi University (DU) has been exploring other options, tasking the Delhi University Computer Center (DUCC) with evaluating the feasibility of conducting online examinations. The deans and teachers, however, have criticised the plans that were supposedly discussed in a meeting of the deans of various departments, senior university officials and the Dean of Examinations, Vinay Gupta over video conferencing.

DU Executive Council member, Rajesh Jha claimed to know the details of the suggestions made in the meeting with the plan being for students to send a 20-minute clip in which four questions were to be answered. It was said that officials suggested eight questions are sent to students and they would have to answer four of them by uploading a five-minute video clip in response. Jha called the proposal a “complete mockery of higher education” and has not been alone in voicing his disapproval for the suggestion. Deans of several University departments were said to have termed this form of examination “practically impossible” and “not feasible”. A professor who was a part of the meeting claimed the following: “Deans said many of the students live in areas where there are connectivity issues and many of them might be good in writing but not fluent in speaking. The mode of examination will not test a student properly.”

Jha belongs to the Academics For Action and Development (AAD), a Congress-supported teachers group that also voiced concern over the “arbitrary and authoritarian proposal of the university administration for online examinations”. The group also claimed that the submission of answers in the oral clips would be made through a third-party platform, which DU officials have denied, saying “We are only exploring how online examinations can be conducted in DU, since this hasn’t been done before. Even if the lockdown is removed, social distancing measures will still be in force, so we won’t be able to hold physical exams”. The AAD, however, said the suggestions showed the “scant understanding of essence of evaluation in higher education and its utter disregard for students’ interest”. It also claimed that “In the name of exigency of COVID pandemic, reforms are being thrust by UGC-MHRD to pave way for the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2019, aiming at privatisation, contract basis and online education”.

The AAD and others have called into question the feasibility citing reasons such as access to the internet and a smart-phone, difficulties in submission and evaluation as well as the chances of tampering and unfair means. “In the background of digital divide and 3/4th of our students coming from socially and economically weaker sections, the online proposition is against the basic principles of equity and social justice” stated the AAD.


Featured Image Credits: Tashi Dorjay Sherpa for DU Beat

Tashi Dorjay Sherpa

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On 14th November, Students’ Union and Teachers’ Association from all central Universities in Delhi marched from Barakhamba Road to Jantar Mantar, and stood in solidarity with students from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) to protest against the New Education Policy (NEP).

14th November observed a central march at Jantar Mantar against the NEP. Student Political groups from Delhi like All India Students’ Association (AISA), CYSS, Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS), National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU), and Students’ Federation of India (SFI) came together to protest against the NEP, and the fee hike in JNU. The protest was led by Federation of Central University Teachers Associations (FEDCUTA) which incorporates the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA), Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) and Jamia Millia Islamia’s Teacher Association (JMITA )under it. Students showed up at the protest in large numbers with banners, masks to combat the Delhi pollution, and immense grit and determination.

NEP has paved way for Privatisation of education. It has also resulted in the constant fee hikes observed by the Universities. Under NEP, a new mechanism of Higher Education Funding Authority (HEFA) will be established to not give grants but to lend loans. DUTA also fought for permanent absorption of the Ad-hocs to have stability in colleges.

Damini Kain, Presidential Candidate from AISA, said “Public Education is a fundamental right for all. But what the new education policy is doing is, its just making education exclusive. It is deliberately excluding people that come from marginalised communities, lower caste backgrounds and other minorities. NEP is breaking the core fabric of education. It will change the entire dynamic of lending and granting into loans. And the burden of repayment of those loans will lie on the common student.”

The March witnessed many keynote speakers to apprise the students about the consequences of this policy.

Doraisamy Raja, General Secretary, Communist party of India appreciated the students and teachers of JNU to protest against the tremendous hike. He shed light on the importance of education and the threat to its integrity. He also criticised the one language ideology of the current Government.

The common demand that each JNU student and teacher had was to meet with their Vice chancellor and roll back of the fee hike. More than 40% of the students studying at JNU are below poverty line and cannot afford the new fee structure.

Aishe Ghosh, President, JNUSU, said, “All these charges that weren’t existing before like utility charges of electricity, water, food, WIFI will be paid by students even after giving a hostel fees. We’ve come here with a motive to spread this protest to every college and university ad education is for all. All we would like is for our Vice Chancellor to have a discussion with us rather than appearing on Republic TV.”

After all speaker sessions, the March began, led by Federation of Central University Teachers Associations (FEDCUTA), followed by various student organisations. The Teacher-Student-Karamchari unity was an important focus of theMarch.

Slogans like “NEP down down”, “Privatisation se azadi”, “Modi govt Haye-Haye” were chanted. Posters with “Godi Media” talking about the fake media portrayal of press were also displayed, and the banners of Teacher associations of various colleges were also seen.

Among all of these issues, the students from School of Open Learning also came to bring to light the struggles they had face being trapped in the sudden imposition of Choice Based Credit System.

A SOL student, who wished to remain anonymous, told DU Beat, “We’re fighting against the autonomy of education, yet, correspondence where most of the students from lower background study is often ignored. We have exams in December, yet we haven’t been given any books or material. And the material given is so substandard it cannot be used. And the worse, even DUTA has completely ignored us.”

Feature Image Credit : Noihrit Gogoi for DU beat

Chhavi Bahmba

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The progressive National Education Policy (NEP) was in headlines recently when an old controversy reappeared in its document.

‘Balkanisation’ is a geo-political term used to explain the fragmentation of a large sovereign territory into smaller units due to social, political or cultural differences. The optimal examples of countries that surrendered themselves to this phenomenon are Yugoslavia and USSR. There are other failed attempts of segregation where states could not attain sovereignty because of compromise or suppression. Among others, the Indian state of Tamil Nadu is an astute example. The unflattering and relentless opposition of Tamilians towards the Hindi language has an 80-year-old history. It has led to violent protests, polarization and demand for a separate nation at different epochs of 20th century.

The current draft of the NEP is progressive in many ways. Orchestrated by noted scientist K. Kasturirangan, it promises to revitalize the ailing education system of India. Among other reforms, it changes the focus group for imparting education from 6-14 to 3-18 years. It also brings accreditation system in schools and envisions that by 2035, the gross enrolment ratio in schools will increase to 50% compared to the current 25%. But these amendments did not grab the eyeballs as much as a paragraph in the policy to implement the Three Language Formula did.

The Formula first appeared in the NEP in 1968. The clause suggests that along with Hindi and English, any Modern Indian Language be taught to students in Hindi-speaking states and the regional language be taught in non-Hindi speaking state. The formula resurrected the long-running resistance against Hindi imposition in South Indian states, especially Tamil Nadu. Tamilians, in order to conserve their identity and culture, have been protesting against compulsory Hindi education since 1937. Leaders like Periyar, who formed the Dravidar Kazhagam, initiated this anti-Hindi agitation when the then Indian National Congress government made teaching of Hindi compulsory in schools of Madras Presidency. The anti-Hindi sentiment has given genesis to the idea of Dravida Nadu, a hypothetical sovereign country comprising the non-Hindi speaking states of Southern India. E.V Ramasamy (Periyar) and C.N Annadurai, who were the initial proponents of Dravida Nadu, made an attempt to Balkanise India as they feared the hegemony of Hindi would repress their native languages.

But the fear is not inappropriate either. One of the most controversial subjects in the Constitutional Assembly debate was the selection of India’s official language. Noted historian Ramachandra Guha writes that when R.Dhulekar, a member of the house from United Provinces stood up to move an amendment, he started speaking in Hindustani. When the chairman reminded him that many people do not know the language, he replied, “People who do not know Hindustani have no right to stay in India.” The amount of chauvinism reflected in his majoritarian perspective makes it evident why our dear ones in the South are sceptical about compulsory Hindi education.

Following backlash from political parties in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the government officially amended a portion of the NEP. In the new draft, students will have the choice of changing any language they want to. The war of language has been very sensitive and controversial in India. It has fabricated the politics of Tamil Nadu in such a drastic way that the implicit advocate of Hindi imposition, the Congress party has never come back to power after 1967 following the anti-Hindi agitation of that year.

The ship of Unity in diversity sails only when there’s unity without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation. Imposing uniformity by enclosing a country like India will bring consequences that we don’t need or deserve.


Feature Image credits: NCERT


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