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Delhi University’s decision to conduct ‘open-book’ online exam draws criticism


Written by Aranya Shankar
| New Delhi |

Published: May 16, 2020 8:18:00 pm


Delhi University UG, PG exams to be conducted from July 1. Representational image/ gettyimages.in 

The online open book examination mode being considered by Delhi University (DU) for its final year students had come into more criticism with several Heads of Department (HoDs) Saturday speaking out against the decision in a meeting. Some teachers have even approached the President of India regarding the move.

The Academics for Action & Development (AAD), a teachers’ body, claimed that around 20 HoDs had come out against the “arbitrary and autocratic decision” of the university in their virtual meeting held Saturday.

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“AAD expresses its total solidarity with around 20 Head of Departments (HoD) who came together today against the arbitrary and autocratic decision of the university administration to impose OBE (open book examination) through online mode as disastrous for the students of the university. AAD also supported Deans, who in an online meeting, expressed their opinion against the online examination. AAD also stands with Dean, Faculty of Technology, who wrote to DU VC against the online examination,” they said.

An HoD, who did not wish to be named, said, “There was a discussion on the mode of examination suggested by the university administration in which several spoke against the open book exam mode. There was also a discussion on whether exams should be online or offline but there was no consensus. It was only at the discussion.”

Four teachers of the university from reserved backgrounds also wrote to President Ramnath Kovind Saturday saying the decision would especially push those from reserved categories, poor backgrounds, and persons with disabilities “on the wrong side of the digital divide”.

“We have 60 per cent of students in the university coming from SC, ST, OBC, EWS, PwD and remote areas like North East and J&K, who are mostly lacking requisite hardware and software. Open book test is always beneficial for those students, who have facilities in their home. But most students of Delhi University depend completely on the library for books,” wrote Assistant Professors Kaushal Panwar, Premchand, Anil Kumar and Deepankar.

“So, the proper digital resources are far away from them because their economic background does not allow this. This type of examination will promote a type of discrimination among the students at different levels. Only students who are full of resources can benefit more in this exam,” they added.

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The teachers also said “there has been no sanction for such a move by AC (Academic Council) and EC (Executive Council) of the university.”

Rashtriya Janata Dal spokesperson and DU teacher Manoj Jha also tweeted against the decision Saturday. “As a teacher at #DSSW stand in solidarity with the grievance of larger student fraternity wrt online examination. Please do a sensitive due diligence 4 d students. How many of them have laptops/smartphone? How many of them enjoy uninterrupted internet?” he tweeted.

DU Registrar and Dean Examinations did not respond to calls and texts.

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