Delhi University’s final year students have been gripped by stress and uncertainty over the past months due to the negligent and ill-advised plans by the university officials to go forth with Open Book Examinations (OBE).
There are over 200 universities in India and most of them are already done with their evaluation, with many institutes turning to creative and novel approaches to effectively evaluate students.
DU, on the other hand, has royally messed things up.
From a humiliating crashing of exam portal on the day of mock exams that only further proved that OBE cannot be handled by the DU website to constant delaying of exams, Delhi University has repeatedly displayed its unpreparedness.
Many petitions were filed against DU. One such petition was heard by the Delhi High Court on 22nd July 2020.
Petition against OBE in DU
While there are separate petitions to be heard in the Supreme Court regarding scrapping of the guidelines for mandatory final year exams in colleges by UGC, today’s petition was about how the exam is being conducted by Delhi University, i.e., the dreaded OBE.
The petitioner, like many worried students and professors, doubts the efficacy of OBE as an effective way of evaluation since many students don’t have access to a stable internet connection, amongst other reasons.
DU’s own counsel’s computer freezes amid hearing
This moment would have been incredibly funny if not for the fact that these are the same people who continue to insist that DU is ready for OBE when it can’t even get a perfectly functioning computer in court proceedings.
DU’s counsel, Adv Sachin Dutta: Give me a second lordship, my computer hanged.
Delhi High Court: That’s our point. Connections hang, electricity goes out in our country.
Justice Prathiba Singh, who is hearing the petition, continued, saying, “Completely impractical to have timed examination. We live in the heart of Delhi and there was no electricity or connectivity for hours due to the rain.”
The court noted that the exam guidelines require a minimum 4G connection which is not available to everyone across the country.
Petitioner’s Advocate: There is no 3G in Kashmir. Assam has floods.
DU’s counsel, Adv Dutta: 3G will be fine. As long as you can open your email.
The Court: Your own FAQ says 4G is recommended.
‘Sanctity of exams will come into question’ – UGC
The court asked why UGC can’t simply go for take-home assignments.
UGC counsel, Adv Apurva Kurup: Sanctity of exams will come into question in ‘take-home assignment’ mode for conducting exams. We’re worried about the possibility of cheating in this mode.
Delhi High Court: If someone wants to cheat, they’ll cheat in any mode of exam. Some students don’t have time to finish their own exams. 3 hours are not enough for taking exams, You can’t make a general assumption that the majority of students are going to cheat in ‘take-home assignment’ mode of assessment.
MCQ mode of examination an option
Court: Why is UGC saying that exam has to be conducted and then it can only be offline, online or blended? Now you are saying it should be timed. What if DU wants to conduct MCQ based?
UGC Counsel: MCQ can be done. It is allowed. Globally, several exams are MCQ based. Whether DU wants to have MCQ based or not, it is up to them. I can’t answer.
The court then chastised the UGC for not making this clear earlier, because if it had done so, then DU could have switched to MCQ format earlier and not needed to postpone exams repeatedly.
DU has delayed exams over and over again, citing ill-preparedness.
Survey reveals students prefer assignments
A survey of 232 students revealed that an overwhelming majority preferred assignment based examination as opposed to timed examinations. Most wanted the examination to be over in August itself.
It is shameful that a prestigious institute such as Delhi University would callously continue to play with the lives of final year students at a time when the world is reeling with a pandemic.
Students have been left in a state of panic and anxiety with no clear idea of what the university might do next.
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This post is tagged under: delhi university, OBE, open book examination, delhi high court, UGC, delay in examinations, petition, university grants commission, students stressed, final year exams, du against online exam, MCQ, OMR, OBE, High Court, Justice Prathiba Singh, counsel for DU, counsel for UGC, lawyer, representing