semester system


The students from the School of Open Learning (SOL) ended their hunger strike on Thursday after a meeting was proposed by the SOL authorities.

The students and activists of the Krantikari Yuva Sanagathan (KYS) undertook a hunger strike to oppose the implementation of Choice Based Credit System (CBCS), which was to be introduced in SOL in the current academic session. The strike, which commenced on Tuesday, ended as a meeting was proposed by the authorities to resolve these issues.

As reported earlier, the decision to introduce semester system was taken during an emergency meeting of the University’s Executive Council (EC) on Saturday, 17th August 2019, but four members recorded their dissent to the idea.

Akansha, a B.Com student from SOL said, “Government ne article 370 hataane se pehle nahi pucha SOL kya cheez hai? (Government did not ask before scrapping article 370, what is SOL compared to that?)

In 2015, DU had decided to drop annual examinations and paved way for the semester examinations for all its regular colleges under CBCS. However, SOL was exempted since there were no regular classes for these students. The students only had a single examination in May as opposed to two exams during the months of November and May. The latest decision would bring SOL at par with regular colleges.

This decision faced a lot of backlash from the students as it was implemented in haste and the material of the annual mode of exam had already been distributed. Until a few days ago, students of were studying the same annual mode syllabus.

As reported by Outlook India, on Thursday, the students attempted to return their academic books but they were refused by the SOL authorities. Subsequently, in protest, they dumped their materials outside the SOL building, which lead to the management of SOL calling a meeting with the delegates.

Feature Image Credits: Niharika Dabral for DU Beat

Stephen Mathew

[email protected]

The Executive Council of the University of Delhi (DU) has approved the semester system for the School of Open Learning (SOL) and  Non-Collegiate Women Education Board (NCWEB) starting from the current academic session.

The Executive Council of DU was called on Saturday to discuss the introduction of semester system in the SOL and NCWEB, and it has decided to introduce the semester system from this academic session.

The SOL and NCWEB are currently following the aannual system in which the exams are conducted in the month of May. 

It was decided in an earlier meeting that the Choice Based Semester System (CBCS) would be introduced in these two institutions from the academic session of 2019-2020.

The semester system would enable these two verticals to be identical to regular colleges.

Some officials expressed dissent, as they felt that this move has been taken in a hurry and would affect the students who have enrolled on an annual basis as classes have begun and the study material has also been handed over.

Akansha, who is a B.Com. student in SOL, seemed disappointed and had this to say-  ”There are mainly three reasons for choosing correspondence, those who choose it for convenience and do not have time for regular classes would be pissed as this defeats the purpose and who cannot afford regular education or do not have enough marks to get onto a regular college. I am pissed.”

SOL enables the students to enrol themselves in various courses and programs without being physically present to attend classes unlike other colleges in DU.

This means that students enrolled in undergraduate honours courses will have their examinations under the Central Examination Centre, since SOL offers very few honours courses. Notifications for the schedule of examinations and filing of forms for the students of NCWEB shall be along with regular semester students. Whereas  semester exams for non-honours students would be undertaken by SOL.

The annual system only has one examination whereas the semester system has two examinations during the months of December and May.

The fee structure also varies as semester system requires fee payment to be done in two instalments unlike the annual system with single payment.

The SOL, which was founded in 1962, is one of the largest distance education institute in the country with over five lakh students in its fold, and around one and a half lakh students enrolled annually.

NCWEB, which is exclusive to women, provides weekend to females residing in the national capital.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat

Stephen Mathew

[email protected]

When I came to DU a year ago, my bag was heavier with ‘to-do lists’ rather than books. Seminars, fests, assignments, attendance, exams, forms— there was just so much balancing to do and only so much I could manage. It has been a year now, but things remain the same. There are no conspicuous differences between the lives of a nine-to-five corporate workaholic and an average DU student, trapped in the semester mode. We are all prisoners. We are all turning into stereotypes.

The semester system was introduced with plenty of good intentions. Last year, CBCS hopped into the bandwagon too. There are now multiple courses to complete in a single semester, regardless of the fact that most of them are not a “choice”. Teachers are wiping their anxious brows on one hand, and students on the other. The former clench their teeth because students do not have the time to interact with them, or form a concrete perspective at the end of three years. Meanwhile, the latter must deal with clashing entrance exams and semester exams, tiptoeing precariously on the line in-between.

“I don’t have the time to study and enjoy events simultaneously during the semester. We all get incredibly busy. But the moment a semester ends, we have absolutely nothing to do,” claims Neha Nara, a second year student from Sri Venkateswara college. This is a common problem faced by many. The capitalist structure denies time for leisure. When we must and do get accustomed to being ‘busy’ every second of every single day, how much of ‘free’ vacation time can we truly handle? For some, taking a long, uninterrupted break can become an unbearable thought.

Societies demand the kind of dedication which only a few can manage in a whirlwind of regular internals and exams. Additionally, it becomes an uphill climb to maintain that spotless attendance record. It fetches marks at the end of a semester, after all. There is hardly any time to fall sick, let alone ‘bunk’ a few classes which may not hold our interest. Student life has ceased to be idyllic. This is what I realised at the end of a year.

From a bird’s-eye view, it is possible to get a degree from a reputed college today. But how much ‘knowledge’ does someone like me truly gain in three years? In fact, what sort of graduates are we churning out in this system? We are mutely witnessing one semester after the other fly out of our reach, college-life coming to an end, while a seemingly unsteady future awaits us outside the gates.

Featured Image Credits: www.candidcovers.files.wordpress.com

Deepannita Misra

Keeping aside the always-in-headlines Odd-Even Traffic Rule, there’s an odd-even pattern witnessed in the semesters too. The odd ones, marking the beginning of the academic year witness much enthusiasm (and attendance) while the even ones are just feel just like a lazy, broken momentum passing on. Don’t believe? Here are five reasons we think they’re both different:

1. “New year, let’s make it a big one!”

Let’s face it, we all say something on these lines every July. And by the time March winds up, we know we did no better this year too. So while the beginning is fresh we try our best to give up the comfortable abode of our beds to attend college and try to make it things work out before the submissions deadline. There’s zeal, agility and most importantly hope!

2. “Couldn’t do much last semester, will try again next year…”

And when we are not-so-successful in breaking through the deadlines by November, well then, there’s not much we can save through the rest of the year. Let’s just keep it simple and try again next year? Meanwhile, why not catch on to the sleep?

 3. Seriousness across campus v/s the exuberance of fest season

Things are continuous and you’re able to keep tab of things: that’s what the odd semesters are about. In the even ones, well there are fests every week to distract you. By the time you decide to work on that assignment, you hear Amit Trivedi’s performing in a college and who’d like to miss the music maestro for a bunch of marks anyway?

 4. If you’re in a cultural society, when was the last time you attended class?

The fest season, with all of its exuberance brings a lot of work too. Whether you’re in a performing society wherein you’ve to tax hours to bag the top position in competitions or a member of the organising committee of any of the fests; there’s a high chance that you wouldn’t be aware which top your class is on…in every subject. Missing classes becomes a routine and now that that’s done, another committee meeting maybe?

 5. One too long, two ends too soon.

Odd semesters seem uncannily long, thanks to the slow pace of activities across campus. The even ones seem to be like on a rat race, semester exams stand staring at you right in the eye before you know it. The commitments too, are substantially different. Odd semesters give you a chance to redeem all lost hopes you had in the last even semester (while also giving you a chance to mess up the upcoming even semester) and the even ones? There’s too much happening around campus to be inside the walls of a classroom, right?


Featured image credits: www.9gag.com

Arushi Pathak
[email protected]

Emerging from what has transformed into a completely bitter symphony, the on-going tangles of discontentment have brewed into a series of brawls between the DUTA members and the Vice Chancellor of Delhi University. The coercive governance by the authorities and the non-receptiveness of any dialogue with the teachers pertaining to the up surging issues, followed by insinuating the teacher’s association as ‘illegal’ has sprung up a steamy situation for every stakeholder of this renowned university.

On Wednesday the hunger strike by DUTA members marked the tenth day of protest, channelizing a way for the emergence of yet another agenda for Thursday, 18th October.  On the aforementioned date the members of DUTA marched barefoot around the campus of the university to ascertain the Right to Education to the economically weaker sections of the society, in the arrears of massive privatization and commercialization. The motive of the protest was also a well sunken thought to stir a voice of justice for the girl who was molested during the DUSU elections earlier. An air of pitiful disgrace was expressed with respect to banning democratic protests in the campus post the incident. The strike seems to evolve due to a multitude of driving factors arising due to the haphazard manner in which the university is dealing with semesterization. In the ambit of unilateral decision making, the authorities have completely shunned out on any influential contribution by the teachers who are intricate brunt bearers and facilitators of the semester system. The threat of pay cuts in case of any demonstrations has also leapt as a severe bone of contention. There are several questions being posed on the claimed acceleration of the standard of the university which has duly failed in providing and enabling the mere necessities of a conducive environment for accessing education.

The acceptance and enhancement of semester system as another rung in the towering ladder of a ‘glistening’ education in this country continues to be a contentious argument, one year after its implementation. Students have queued up their dismal grievances to unflattering redressal, corresponding to which they extended their support and accompanied the teachers through the days of the strike. In the domain of responsible demonstrations, the teachers have ensured regular classes and have prudently conducted these strikes for a cause. Deliberation and enactment can only condense the appalling situation of the largest democracy’s top ranked university, where the essence of an ironic situation seems to persist.


Image source: The Hindu 

The Delhi University is apparently witnessing a spate of changes this year. After the proposal of some radical changes to be applicable from next academic session, it has come to light that slight changes have also been brought forth in the examination system and these will be applicable from the forthcoming semester examinations in November.

Under the new scheme, the answer scripts of the students will carry their basic detail such as their name, the name of the college and also father’s name. Contrary to this, the scripts at present carry only a numeric code thereby keeping the identity of the student secret.

The introduction of this new scheme has, however, cropped certain doubts and most students seem to be worried about some sort of bias. While speaking to DUB, Tanvi Aggarwal, a student of Gargi College, said, “While the disclosure of student’s name on the answer script will reduce the scope of administrative discrepancies, the major concern should be that of bias especially on the basis of religion or caste. Besides, certain colleges have certain pre-conceived reputation and therefore, teachers might just fall prey to this unintentionally and end up giving marks according to colleges.”

Another student Bharat Singhal from Shri Ram College of Commerce said, “The University seems to be in a race to bring changes without even appraising the pros and cons of any idea. All important examinations keep identity of the student undisclosed and there is surely some strong logic behind this. Unfortunately, we students suffer because of some people’s whims and fancies.”

Besides this, the question paper will be framed by a panel of three examiners appointed by the concerned department which will no more have the right to moderate the papers in case of any discrepancy. The university has already issued letters to the departments to make the appropriate appointments for the panel.

Moreover, the number of scripts to be evaluated by each teacher has also been brought down. While earlier they had to evaluate 400-600 copies, they will only be required to assess around 200 copies.


Vatsal Verma
[email protected] 

Migration, the process by which a student can change his/her college within the University while not having to repeat a year of education, is a boon for meritorious students who might have not made it to their college of choice initially. Before 2011, migration was a clearly stated policy in most college brochures/handbooks and the practice was fairly common.

Come 2011 and enter the semester system. The migration policies suddenly go off the records; it does not find a mention in any college prospectus. The reasons offered in hushed tones is that colleges doesn’t want to complicate an already complex scenario by working out how a student would migrate through semesters, and how marks would be carried forward and how the conflicting optional-papers system would be worked out.

This however, does not imply that migrations are disallowed. There exists a file in the DU website, a file record of an amendment to Ordinance IV, relating to migrations. It clearly states that migrations are still allowed, and can now even occur across universities (as per new rules)! The rules more or less remain the same as before.

The policy change has puts questions before us : why is migrations being down-played by the University? Why is it so that our correspondent, who visited the SOL for migration, is told “There are no migrations allowed as of date, we shall let you know if there is a change in policies.” Why is so that staff members in various North Campus colleges where we reached out either refuse to comment or state that migrations are disallowed?

The dean’s office at the University says that the website needs to be updated and that colleges do allow migrations. This statement comes amidst reports that the last date to apply for migrations (as found out from college sources directly) at Hindu College and GGS College are already past. For the immediate attention of interested students, Khalsa College, among a possibly larger list, is still accepting applications!

Being a government-funded university, it is of paramount importance that transparency is followed at all levels. Delhi University should take steps to make information available at all levels. Migrations are an across-the-University issue and require immediate attention as far as updating the website is concerned. Colleges also need to work keeping student’s welfare in mind. Difficulty faced by colleges in admitting migration students indicates a flaw in the system for which a meritorious student should not be penalized.


Arnav Das
[email protected]

Photo credits: Additi Seth 

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



All those who thought nothing more could possibly go wrong with the semester system after the intense furore over the ‘brilliant’ semester results, are in for quite a big shock. It seems as if the semester system’s armour is not as impregnable as believed. To ensure classes began on time following the winter vacations, the Office of the Dean of Colleges had written to all colleges to submit their time table to the office and also to put up the time table on their college website.

However, according to The Daily Pioneer, since extensive construction work and repairs were going on Sri Venkateswara College, classes were put on hold. Moreover, timetables came up on the notice board only by the 9th of January. In fact a complaint had been dispatched to the VC by the student’s union regarding delay in the conduction of classes. The Daily Pioneer also quoted Amit Yadav, President of the college student union as saying that he couldn’t fathom how the vast course under the semester system would be completed with such few days of classes further reduced because of the ongoing construction.

This however is not the end of the story. The Principal of Sri Venkateswara College, Dr. Hemalatha Reddy took umbrage at this report by the Daily Pioneer. She issued a letter to the Editor of the newspaper informing them that the timetables had in fact been put up on the 2nd of January and classes had commenced from that day itself. She also mentioned that the renovation work was happening only in 4 classrooms, alternatives for which had already been provided for. In an extremely surprising turn of events, the letter also contained Amit Yadav’s denial at ever having been questioned by Ms. Rohini Singh; reporter of the Daily Pioneer who authored the aforementioned infamous article. He maintained that he had only received an SMS from her saying she wanted to interview him but never got in touch with him after that communication. View the letter at http://www.svc.ac.in/page282.html

Obviously the Daily Pioneer would not take this lying low. In an article dated January 17, the Daily Pioneer reported that although the Principal said that classes had only been postponed by four days and would be covered up on holidays; many teachers had raised objections to repairs bring carried out now. They thought it wiser to do the same in the summer break. According to the Vice Principal however, it was necessary to start the work in the winter break, since the funds for the OBC expansion given by the University lapse after March.

It seems as if fissures are just continuing to widen and this new controversy shall only serve as an impetus for the same.


Agonized by the conditions imposed by the semester system, a group of third year students of University have initiated an online petition to protest against the system. The campaign was started by two DU students, Ankita Rastogi and Shefail Saini.

The demands written in the petition include: Continue the system of re-evaluation and rechecking of exam papers; Any academic reform should start from evaluation of the existing annual system, its benefits and weaknesses and to devise a system which specifically redresses those weaknesses, Keeping the interest of students and teachers in mind. Whether the solution will emerge from within the annual system or a different one (semester/trimester etc) cannot be pre-decided; Ensure a sustained improvement in infrastructure and share the details with teachers and students and show transparency; Improve infrastructure and student teacher relationships to ensure that dreams of lakhs of students who come to DU every year and create an efficient education system in the varsity.

The petition, compiled and posted on the internet just before the first semester exams kicked off, has received about 107 signatures so far. The number might be small but the students behind it are still hopeful to get more support. Talking about the reason behind such a response of the students, Ankita Rastogi from SRCC, the student who’s leading the campaign, says, “The response from students has been decent considering their brief stay in the University. The petition was uploaded just before the first semester exam due to which students were not quite aware of it, post that there were holidays during which the petition got the bulk of its support. But then the first semester results doused the petition since the students were overwhelmed by their inflated marks. The results made the semesters so attractive to everyone that students under the annual mode regretted not being under the semester system, totally ignoring the cutthroat competition this is going to create amongst students. Besides, such inflation of marks indicates the foul play the university has indulged in to push through the semester system smoothly, how else can you explain 99% marks in Economics and that approximately 20% students in the University have secured above 95%? If we assume the checking has been efficient and correct, then why were the question-papers sub-standard?”

The fact that the petition has been compiled by a group of third year students who do not even have to bear the system sounds surprising. But that’s where they decided to take up the responsibility so that students don’t have to bear the brunt in their fifth semester. She states, “The reason why we consider it our responsibility to oppose a system we are not under is because we’re able to see that the University is getting away with all the illegalities it is involved in due to the fact that the student fraternity is unaware, fragmented and self-involved. The time by when all students will realize the ill effects of the system it might be too late to do anything. Therefore we consider it important to stir students out of their ignorance so as to create solidarity against a system that may not benefit them in their future. But the reason that made me prepare a petition before my exams was that perhaps by the time students begin having problems with this system they will be rendered absolutely helpless.”

“In their fifth semester, when students will be preparing for entrance exams, that will clash with their semester exams. Would they be able to sacrifice an entire semester in a system of such strong meritocracy? What will students do when in subsequent semesters the course load increases and they are not awarded marks generously and they don’t have the option of re-evaluation with them?”, she questions.

Their next step would be to officially submit the petition to the Vice Chancellor of the University, after they have gathered enough support. They also plan to file it in court if the University fails to deliver. “The whole objective of this petition is to roll back the system till the University brings in a well thought out, democratic and transparent semester system,” she adds.


Here’s the link to the online petition: