Delhi University sticks to online exams
Delhi University plans to continue online classes for the current semester and hold exams in the virtual mode in December-January despite many students failing to complete the earlier exam due to lack of access to Internet and devices.
On Saturday, the DU administration tabled the proposal before its Executive Council (EC), the highest decision-making body of the university, but the meeting was deferred to October 20 as the vice-chancellor was indisposed.
According to the proposal, second and third semester undergraduate and postgraduate students are to continue online classes for the rest of this year in view of the pandemic and also appear online for internal assessments and term exams. DU has around 6 lakh undergraduate and postgraduate students
Around 10 per cent of students could not take the final-semester exams held in July, and another 20 per cent could not submit their answer sheets because of lack of access to Internet and devices such as smartphones and computers, feeble connections and other technical problems. A second round of online exams was held in August for such students, and DU is yet to come out with data on it.
The exams had been held online in the open-book mode, under which the students had to log onto the examination portal to get the question papers, then write their answers on plain paper, scan them and upload them on the website. Apart from the connectivity and device issues, there is no scope for invigilation in such a mode, which prompted many to question the sanctity and effectiveness of such exams.
“A large number of students could not appear for the OBE (open-book examination) because they did not have devices. The university wants to blindly follow the directives of the University Grants Commission and the education ministry, which want all institutions to hold online examinations,” said J.L. Gupta, a member of the DU Executive Council.
He pointed out that JEE and NEET exams were conducted last month in the traditional pen-and-paper mode. “If (these exams) could be held in the pen-and-paper mode, the DU exams can also be conducted,” Gupta said.
The first semester is yet to begin as the admissions process has been delayed because of the pandemic. The first semester is expected to begin in November.
Rajesh Jha, another EC member, also opposed the proposal for online exams.
“When students do not have adequate number of devices, the university should rather assess students on the basis of internal assessments,” he said.
At Saturday’s EC meeting, four members submitted notes of dissent over the postponement of the session, arguing that there was no such provision in case of the indisposition of the VC.
According to the meeting’s agenda note, DU has started six new centres — the Delhi School of Public Health, Delhi School of Climate Change and Sustainability, Delhi School of Public Policy and Governance, Centre for Disability Studies, Delhi School of Transnational Affairs and the Delhi School of Skill Enhancement and Entrepreneurship Development.
Funds of Rs 1,000 crore that DU is to receive under the government’s Institution of Eminence scheme will be utilised to set up these centres.