Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Centenary College, Rahara, will hold end-semester exams, due in January, offline because it believes exams held over digital platforms from home raises questions about the evaluation system and does not reflect a student’s merit.
The college is now holding practical classes on campus for students who are in the first, second and third year (first, third and fifth semester, respectively) after covering the theory papers online.
Swami Kamalasthananda, the college’s principal, said until a fair assessment is held through an offline exam, the teachers won’t be able to detect and plug learning gaps.
“Offline assessment reflects the merit of a student in a fair and transparent way. Over the past 20 months, we had to conduct exams over digital platforms as a precaution against Covid. But now that offline academic activities have resumed from last week, we will hold the end-semester exams on the campus following distancing norms at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels,” Swami Kamalasthananda told Metro.
A senior official of Calcutta University that affiliates the colleges said principals of several institutions have expressed the desire to hold the end-semester exams offline for the sake of transparency.
“Since the resumption of physical classes was approved by the higher education department, we are looking forward to a directive from the department in this regard. The autonomous institutions have the liberty to fix the mode of evaluation on their own,” he said.
The department in July barred the colleges and universities from holding any entrance test for admission to undergraduate courses and allowed marks-based screening only.
Teachers of Jadavpur University in a recent letter to vice-chancellor Suranjan Das proposed that the end-semester exams be held on campus to ensure transparency because this system would involve physical invigilation.
A section of teachers at JU had told the VC in June that students “are sharing answers among themselves” during online exams.
A teacher of the college in Rahara said a student may not have attended online classes properly because of factors like digital divide or unstable connectivity at home.
“An offline exam will help a teacher to determine these shortcomings effectively and prepare the student better through remedial classes. Or else, the student will suffer at the level of higher studies,” he said.
Swami Kamalasthananda said potential recruiters might doubt the aptitude of a student if they come to know he or she only appeared in an online assessment.
A private bank had announced in an advertisement in June that 2021 graduates were not eligible to apply for jobs in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.
A teacher of the Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandira, Belur, said they were planning to hold the end-semester exams offline, subject to prevalence of normality.