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Phased test to beat space jam
- CU eyes exam in shifts with separate sets of questions

An acute space crunch has prompted Calcutta University to consider holding the undergraduate examinations in some subjects in phases, with more than one set of questions.

Sources said the staggered exams — either on separate days or in shifts on a single day — are likely to be held in subjects like environment science, a must-study for all streams, and political science and philosophy, which are opted for by a large number of arts students.

The move signals a departure from the traditional system of holding an exam with one set of questions, on the same day and at the same time, to ensure fairness in evaluation. The system is followed by almost all education boards and universities.

“Enrolment in undergraduate exams is increasing by the year, but the capacity of our affiliated colleges to accommodate examinees remains almost the same,” said Onkar Sadhan Adhikari, controller of examinations in the university. “This has resulted in a crisis. We have to take some measures to ensure that all examinees write the tests comfortably.”

The proposal on staggered exams will be placed before the undergraduate council of the university on Wednesday.

The university this year has recorded an enrolment of around 1.10 lakh — highest in its 150-year-old history — for the BA, B.Sc and B.Com Part-I (under the 1+1+1 scheme) exams, scheduled to be held in June.

In 2006, the enrolment was around 92,000, though 84,000 finally sat for the test.

Sources said of the 160-odd colleges affiliated to the university, exams can be held in 120. The rest cannot host the test for a variety of reasons, lack of space being one.

St Xavier’s College alone used to accommodate around 1,000 examinees. But ever since it was granted autonomy, the college has been conducting its own exams and hence, cannot be used to host those conducted by the university. This has further worsened the space problem, the sources added.

The university plans to divide examinees in subjects requiring staggered tests into two or more groups. For instance, BA and B.Com students may write the test on environment science or compulsory English in the morning and the rest may appear in the afternoon on the same day or on another day. The examinee count in environment science is the highest.

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