The Delhi University will hold online “open book exams” for all final year students in case the situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic does not normalise soon, the university said Thursday. The move has drawn criticism from several quarters.
In a letter written to the Heads of Department, Dean Exams Vinay Gupta stated that under the ‘‘Open-Book” mode of examination, students will be able to refer to books, notes and other study materials to answer questions. They would download question papers for their respective course from the portal from home, and be required to upload the answers within two hours.
In a notification, the varsity informed that examinations for final year postgraduate and undergraduate students, including exams for students registered with School of Open Learning (SOL) and Non Collegiate Women Education Board (NCWEB) will begin from July 1.
“In case the situation does not appear to be normal in view of COVID-19 and to maintain social distancing, safety and health of the students, the university will adopt alternative mode of examinations i.e. Open Book Examinations (OBE) for final semester/term/year UG and PG students of all programmes and streams along with arrears (ER) of previous semesters/term/year,” the notification said.
The DU Teachers’ Association (DUTA) said open book exams would cause anxiety for students. “The concept of an open book examination is very different from the kind of examinations our students are used to taking and springing this ugly surprise on them in such uncertain and anxiety ridden times is a move that will increase the anxiety for large sections of students, especially since the normal teaching-learning process has been disrupted due to the pandemic,” DUTA President Rajib Ray wrote to the DU VC.
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Both Left and the Right student groups have also criticised the move. CPM’s Students’ Federation of India in a statement said the notification had led to “panic” among students. They’ve proposed to the VC that either pen and paper exams are held six months from now, online exams are held after “ample amount of time given for self-study” or previous semester’s grades be carried over for this semester.
RSS-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad commented, “We are of the strong belief that no decision on examinations in DU should be taken without wider consultation with stakeholders. We have done a massive survey and will suggest alternate mode of exams to the university very soon.”
In a statement, the final year students of MA Sociology also said that the open book format was “exclusive, undemocratic, and quite simply very unfair to lakhs of students across the country”, and said they “hoped the decision will be reconsidered”.
“Further, we believe it is imperative for such decisions to be taken with a more representative body, one including students and professors as the most important stakeholders with regard to this matter,” they added.
DU VC Yogesh Tyagi did not respond to calls and texts.
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