Four Delhi University (DU) professors have written to President Ram Nath Kovind against the varsity’s “arbitrary decision” to hold exams through open-book mode online if the COVID-19 situation doesn’t normalise.
In the letter, the professors said open book examinations will push students belonging to scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes, economically weaker section, and those with disabilities on the wrong side of the digital divide. The four professors are include Kaushal Panwar, Premchand, D R Anil Kumar and Deepankar.
The open-book examination mode would allow students to refer to books, notes and other study material to answer questions. Students will download question papers for their respective course from the web portal sitting at home and upload the answers within two hours. “Our appeal to your good office has acquired urgency as the university administration unilaterally decided and wrote a letter on 13th May 2020 to all the Head of the Departments for preparing three sets of question papers for the open book examination,” the letter said. “This move to organise remote open book examination will push the higher education towards privatisation,” it added. Open book and close book systems are completely different things. The requirements of question papers are also different for these two systems, they said.
Claiming that open book examination “will promote a type of discrimination among the students at different levels”, the professors said only students who have resources can benefit. They also said that the provision of consulting matters with the academic and executive councils was flouted by the varsity administration as they urged the president to “stop this social discriminatory examination method in the university”. Meanwhile, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP)-led Delhi University Students’ Union organised a general body meeting (GBM) of DU Student Representatives, eight DUSU executive council members and 41 elected college union representatives of the respective colleges. The DUSU also held a meeting with the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) to discuss the present situation on academics and exams. The purpose of the GBM was to discuss and deliberate upon the present situation of academics and examinations, a statement said. A comprehensive and integral discussion was held in the meeting to come up with the best solution centric approach for academics as well as examinations keeping in mind the interests of the students, it said. Several options for holding examinations including carry forward scheme, in-house examination scheme and provision of resource material for students were thoroughly discussed in a bid to arrive on a conclusion and to give a memorandum regarding the same to the university administration and Vice Chancellor in coming days, it said. The students’ representatives gave the suggestions, opinions as well as views to hold the examinations in a manner that it benefits all students, it said. “We have to look for multiple options to conduct the examinations rather than emphasising on only a single one so that the drawbacks of the single option are overcome by the alternative one,” DUSU president Akshit Dahiya said.
The options for the mode of examination should be such that not even a single student is left out in the process, he added. DUSU will compile and integrate the suggestions and views which will then be submitted in the form of a memorandum to the DU Vice Chancellor and other senior university officials.