A survey of over 50,000 Delhi University students, conducted by the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) found that 85 per cent of respondents do not feel that they are in a position to appear for online Open Book Examinations (OBE) as proposed by the university examination.
Delhi University (DU) has been closed since mid-March, and earlier this month, the administration announced its proposal to conduct OBEs for its final year undergraduate and postgraduate students in July. This was immediately met with resistance from teachers and students alike, who have argued that this is not a feasible or inclusive decision for the diverse student body – a greater number of whom are from SC, ST, OBC and economically weaker backgrounds, and are from different parts from the country.
DUTA conducted a survey on the preparedness for such examinations, to which 51,453 students had responded, of which around 92 per cent were undergraduate students. Approximately 50 per cent of the respondents were also those whose homes are not in Delhi.
While colleges and departments are supposed to be conducting online learning for its students, this teaching-learning exercise has been highly uneven, as has been reported by The Indian Express in the past. The survey found that while 33.7 per cent students have not been able to attend online classes, 38.5 per cent have attended less than 50 per cent classes.
Even the dissemination of study material seems to be uneven, with 11.9 per cent respondents saying that they have not received study material during the lockdown, and 38.1 per cent saying that they are not being able to access the study material being sent by their teachers.
The reasons for this seem to be varied, with 10.9 per cent respondents saying that they have 2G internet connection, and 6.7 per cent saying that they have no internet connection. Less than half of the respondents have a 4G connection. Additionally, only 15.5 per cent of respondents said that they have laptops, with 74.1 per cent relying only on smartphones which are not conducive to studying their academic material.
At the time that the lockdown had been declared, many students had returned home for the university’s week-long mid-semester Holi break, and had not carried their study material with them. As many as 55.4 per cent respondents said that they do not have their reading material and class notes from before the lockdown with them and cannot access them.
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