A large number of students and teachers of Delhi University added “DU Against Online Exam” frame on their Facebook accounts, in a “spontaneous action programme” by Delhi University Teachers’ Association, or DUTA. The programme is a part of social media campaign started by students and teachers of DU to oppose the university’s decision to conduct online, open book exam for final year students. DUTA has already launched a petition to the Prime Minister, opposing the university’s decision.
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Previously, Delhi University had issued exam guidelines separately for students with disabilities that allow them five hours to write the open book exam and decided to promote intermediate semester students without exams.
Almost 4 lakh students of School of Open Learning, or SOL, Non-Collegiate Women’s Education Board, or NCWEB, and regular undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) students will appear in the final year exams this year. “This gives an idea about the magnitude of students and households which will get affected by this decision,” DUTA said in a statement.
DU Online Exam, Students, And Teachers
According to a survey by DUTA, 85 per cent DU students are against open book exams.
“A survey cum referendum conducted by DUTA with over 51,000 students has shown that close to 50 per cent students did not receive material or could not access it and only 28 per cent students could attend online lectures with some regularity. Close to 34 per cent students could not join any online class…and 85 per cent have voted against the OBE,” DUTA said in a statement.
DUTA has argued that the university’s idea of introducing online classes during the COVID-19 lockdown was a failure due to lack of resources, connectivity issues and absence of learning environment at students’ home. Only one-third to one-fourth students have participated in the online classes.
“Students ought not to be tested through a centralised examination when teaching and learning has been so uneven. Any form of examinations, especially, OBE discriminates against those without access to books, notes, and online resources,” the statement by DUTA added.
Students With Disabilities
“The special needs of many students, especially the differently-abled ones and their entitlement, have been completely ignored. The University has failed to recognise issues of mobility and access to resources for such students, including scribes to write such examinations,” DUTA said in a statement.
Recently, National Federation of the Blind filed a writ petition before Delhi High Court, challenging the university’s decision to conduct online exams. The federation argued that blind students will not be able to avail scribes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Reiterating the points made by the federation, DUTA said that the university’s decision is “extremely unfortunate.”
“Because of the high-handedness and insensitive attitude of the university…differently-abled students have been pushed to the courts to seek justice,” DUTA added.
Open Book Exam And Malpractices
DUTA further argued that open book exams may allow students to use unfair means. “With a large number of students writing the same exam through this remote process, the system has built into it the scope of being a farce,” DUTA said. “Already students have started receiving messages from coaching centers that reading material may be purchased! On the other hand, students would be penalized for their honesty,” DUTA added.