File photo: Delhi University
NEW DELHI: Students of Delhi University colleges on Tuesday demanded that the online Open Book Examinations (OBE) be cancelled and their evaluation be done based on their performance of previous semesters. Students and teachers have been opposing the online OBE and have cited various reasons, including internet connectivity and lack of transparency, as hindrances in conducting the exam.
“We, the students of our respective departments and colleges of the University of Delhi, stand against DU’s Online Open Book Exams.
“After repeated and unequivocal attempts of students across this country, University Grants Commission (UGC) and Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) remain adamant on conducting this farce of an online exam,” the students said in a statement.
Stating that numerous states across the country have decided to cancel their respective state university exams, including the Delhi government, they demanded “cancellation of final semester exams, whether offline or online” and an immediate evaluation based on the results of previous semesters.
The students said the recently held mock tests were ‘mockery’ of the hard work of students’.
Out of a total 2 lakh final year students, only 1.1 lakh students were able to register and out of these only 26 per cent were able to upload their answers, which is only 13 per cent of the total students that were supposed to give the exam, the statement said.
“The figures speak for themselves. This is not just an exclusionary programme but a programme that caters to a miniscule class of the privileged minority,” the statement said.
The Delhi high court was informed on Tuesday that DU will hold final year undergraduate online OBE from August 10-31.
A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad was informed by the varsity that the students left out of online exams will be given an opportunity to appear in physical examinations, to be held sometime in September.
The students, hailing from 31 different departments of various DU colleges, alleged that they faced unending obstacles on the portal like none of the question papers corresponding to their course, facing ‘bad gateway’ errors and the inability to upload documents.
“We stand opposed to the guidelines of UGC making final year exams mandatory and condemn the deliberate silence of the MHRD, which seems to be taking further the systematically developed attack on publicly-funded higher education.
“The kind of statements that we get to hear from the officials of UGC in various interviews and briefings reflect a strange obsession with final exams, somehow legitimising the entire degree of the student,” it said.
The students dismissed the idea of final exams as a “ridiculously farcical idea”.
“The OBE debacle must not be seen as a ‘one-off’ or an ‘isolated’ incident. It is simply an extension to the neo-liberal model of education which had been manifested in NITI AYOG Vision Documents, New Education Policy 2019, and the Union Budget allocations which have been insistent on forcing down massive privatization and ‘Online Non-Classroom Learning and Evaluation’ much before the conditions of the pandemic developed,” they said.
The open book exams will “further exacerbate the fault lines along class, caste, gender, and physical as well as mental ability among students as inaccessibility and constant anxiety among them threatens to plague the entire system”.
Adding to that, the threat of students (and their family members) suffering from COVID-19 is not an imagined outcome any longer, they said.