Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) in recent administrative feedback has released a series of suggestive measures for the Delhi University (DU) administration to consider while tackling the academic hurdles brought on by the global pandemic.

On 14th April 2020, DUTA released an administrative feedback to DU regarding the handling of the global pandemic situation of COVID-19. In the released statement, DUTA points out the faults in the university’s semester and examination schedule, pointing out how neither was well-equipped to handle a crisis as such, leading to a collapse in the teaching semester. “The pandemic has also exposed the failure of the semester system with its tight teaching-learning and examination schedule to be able to weather any crisis such as the present.”

DUTA pointed out the problems with the online classes and e-resources provided by the university and how lacking the method is and definitely not at a capacity to replace or make up for in-class lectures any time soon. Given our student demography, it is important to recognize that a large section of students come from outside Delhi and that an equally significant number comes from underprivileged backgrounds, and the environment at their homes is unlikely to be conducive for learning. The University and colleges have so far not been able to collect data on how many students have accessibility to the e-resources and lectures shared by teachers. Given the diverse population of students to whom the University of Delhi caters to and the student strength, the means and modes of assessment and examination adopted in the context of the lockdown should ensure that the solutions offered do not further marginalize the already marginalized sections of students or create a situation where large sections of students lose out due to the circumstances they face,” the feedback statement read. They also pointed out the fact that most students who had gone back home during the mid-semester break (which had included Holi) had not carried their textbooks and reading materials with them.

DUTA, therefore, concluded that online examinations for the university would not be viable options, owing to the lack of resources and inaccessibility to many students of the university.

DUTA has offered the following suggestions to the administration:

  • Examinations to be held only after teaching days lost during quarantine period are recovered, with priority being given to final year students. DUTA suggested readjusting the holidays for summer accordingly.
  • Final year students should be provided with provisional certificates with details of their SGPA and CGPA.
  • If opened in a phased manner, colleges should give priority to final year students with exams being held 15 days after re-opening.
  • Schedule of the new academic year be adjusted according to the course requirements of current batches.
  • Considering shifting the examinations of UG level courses to an annual mode, in order to properly equip the administration for a similar crisis in the future.
  • Universities should hold meetings of all statutory bodies in order to prepare for dealing with the situation. Students should be kept informed of all measures being taken, even if they’re temporary.

“In the case of the University of Delhi, which caters to lakhs of students, we firmly believe that attempts must be made to ensure that (i) students enrolled in regular programmes be taught and evaluated as per the laid down framework (ii) essential classroom teaching to SOL and NCWEB be completed as per the requirements and commitment of these programmes and (iii) conduct of online centralized examinations be ruled out completely as the University neither has the infrastructure nor the capability of providing/ensuring level playing field in terms of accessibility and ease to the diverse student population it caters to,” the feedback read.

Feature Image Credits: Niharika Dabral for DU Beat

Shreya Juyal

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The School of Open Learning (SOL), Delhi University (DU) is all set to introduce its online teaching programme to aid students from 1st November.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has requested SOL  to upload Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) for B.A. Programme, B.Com (Honours), B.Com Programme and B.A English (Honours) for the first semester.

This comes after the Governing Body made this decision in a prior meeting. The faculty of DU had been requested to submit the proposal for the same. It was earlier approved by the Executive Council of DU.

The motion of online courses was put forward by 22 universities, but UGC gave consent to only four which includes DU.

A “four-quadrant approach” has been suggested under UGC guidelines. This includes video and audio tutorials, open access web content, self-assessment techniques like MCQs, among others. Availability of reading material, in the form of e-books or PDFs, has also been suggested.

The University website provided instructions on making these modules on Tuesday, abiding with the guidelines which state to incorporate video lectures, classroom presentations, small movies, documentaries, fieldwork, virtual experimental learning, gaming, and short question and answers.

It also states that these must be in accordance with the government’s SWAYAM guidelines.

“We have developed a special system, which includes live streaming of lectures. Our teachers have already developed the lectures. We have also hired special tutors and interns,” said Mr CS Dubey, Director of SOL, as reported by Jagran Josh.

SOL is also planning to partially conduct its examination online. The institution had applied for approval to offer online courses in January this year, after the UGC Gazette Notification dated 4th July 2018, prescribing the regulations that shall apply to a university conducting open learning classes.


Feature Image credits: College Duniya


 Stephen Mathew

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Remember the time when one weekend in a month (or two) neared like impending doom? Remember the circulars, placidly inviting all the dear parents for a “healthy” interaction with the teachers, about how their children were doing at school? I remember dying a little bit inside every time we got one of those. I also remember trudging along nervously, as I would lead my parents up the stairs, to the dark chambers of classrooms and staff-rooms where the teachers waited for the next victim to be slaughtered, while a friend would pass by with a throat-slitting signal and a whispered “yaar aaj to lag gai.” I remember sitting there awkwardly, being talked about in grave tones of concern like I wasn’t even there, having everything from my marks, habits, activities, uniform and even my friends being discussed and dissected. I wasn’t that bad a student, so I would alternate between taking my mom to the teachers who would praise me and those who were sure to land me a lecture on the way back.

Come college, I thought all that was over. But now after I’ve settled down into the comfortable routine of doing things my way, without having to worry about having my activities discussed later, DU decides to burst my bubble. Delhi University’s reported proposal to form a parents’ coordination committee sounds to me like taking a huge leap backwards in the process of student development. What has been supposedly proposed for better administration and policy making seems like not just another way to poke moral reprobation on students’ campus activities, but also as destroying the fundamental difference between college and school life.

When you become a college kid, you’re suddenly in a zone where you’re the only one looking out for yourself. There’s no one you’re really accountable to, be it about your attendance, your studies or the kind of friends you make. Your choices are your own and you’re the one who has to face the consequences. College is also probably the time when most of us learn to become responsible and somewhat independent, be it paying the fee (which I’ve experienced by now to be an extremely harrying process in DU), filling the forms on time or maintaining your attendance and proxies to be able to scrape through and give the exams. Part of the vibrancy and culture of college, which distinguishes it from school, is that when we’re dissatisfied, we can raise our voices because we know what we say counts, and the administration is accountable to US. If parents are going to be introduced in the college scene, for more “accountability” towards the students, what are the students going to do? We’re adults now, we hardly need parents as mediators. But I guess by the end of the year we might be seeing parents hawking around campus and parent-teacher meetings being held, in a back-to-school atmosphere where all that college will be left signifying would be a lack of uniforms.