With the Delhi High Court’s nod, Delhi University will be commencing its online Open Book Examinations — postponed numerous times amid resistance from students and teachers — from Monday.
The OBE, only for final-year undergraduate and postgraduate students, was slated to begin on July 1. It was then pushed to July 10, and then to August 10.
With many students having complained about lack of internet accessibility in their hometowns and villages, DU has pointed them towards common service centres (CSCs) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
However, during the mock tests which DU had conducted, some students who had gone to CSCs claimed they were turned away as the centres had not been informed of the tests.
The university had also conducted mock tests in two phases between July 27 and August 4. Before the Delhi High Court, it had submitted that 1,83,376 students had registered to participate in the first phase and 1,86,814 in the second phase. However, the number who had actually logged in was 93,185 in the first phase and 75,593 in the second phase, of which only 33,162 submitted papers in the first phase and 23,693 in the second phase.
Differently abled students, especially the visually challenged, had challenged the OBE in court, and complained of lack of accessible study material during remote learning and lack of scribes and assistive technology to write exams. To this end, DU said it will “spend a total of Rs 2 lakh towards reimbursement of cost of procurement of study material/text books/reference texts in accessible format and/or assistive devices by visually impaired students…”, and asked heads of departments and college principals to submit details of such students.
In case students are not able appear for OBE at all or in part, the university said it “has decided to conduct an additional phase of examinations in OBE mode through online/ offline/blended mechanism”, subject to the Covid-19 situation, about two weeks from the date of conclusion of the online OBE.
Meanwhile, DU Teachers Association expressed disappointment at the HC order. “Any form of online/blended exam is discriminatory… We wish to tell our students that teachers will stand with them,” said DUTA president Rajib Ray.
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