Faculties of History, Sociology and Economics departments have opposed this proposal and have written to the DU Vice-Chancellor
More than 85 percent of Delhi University (DU) students have voted against the university’s decision of holding open book examinations on grounds that it does not favour many students. The Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) had begun a survey on May 3 among the students on the varsity’s decision, the results of which came out recently.
The university has been closed since March shortly after its mid-semester weeklong Holi break. The administration announced the open book examination proposal earlier this month, but was met with resistance from teachers and students stating that it is discriminatory against those from economically weaker sections as they may lack sufficient equipment to smoothly take the exams.
The survey had 51, 453 students, from undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, participating, 50 percent of which reside outside Delhi. While colleges and departments have been holding online classes, the dissemination of material and attendance to these classes have been uneven with many citing internet unavailability and inaccessibility to books, notes and electronic resources.
Saqib Yetoo, studying in St Stephen’s College, is from Jammu and Kashmir where internet access has been suspended for the last 10 months. He said, “We only have 2G connectivity. I have logged in for about 30 percent of the online classes, but that was to just put in my attendance because it would buffer every few seconds and I couldn’t understand what was being said. PDF files of just 2-3 MB take at least half an hour to download. It has been so difficult that I submitted even my internal assignment one-and-a-half months late. To now expect us to write exams in this manner is absurd.”
While only 28 per cent of students could attend more than half of the online classes that were held in the last two months, 38.1 per cent students could not access the study material; 10.9 percent saying they have weak internet connectivity, and 6.7 percent saying they do not have an internet connection. Moreover, only 15.5 percent of the students have laptops, and 74.1 percent said they have to depend on smartphones to attend classes and access resources which is quite difficult.
Caught unaware of the nationwide lockdown, many students had not carried study materials with them while leaving for their homes before the Holi break. About 90 percent of the students have stated that they are not prepared for examinations at all, during a time like this, owing to the dismal socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The DUTA had argued that the university’s decision was creating a huge disfavour among students, discriminating against the economically inferior, differently-abled, promoting dishonest practices, and is unjust against honest students. Faculties of History, Sociology and Economics departments had opposed this proposal, so far, and have written to the DU Vice-chancellor, Yogesh Tyagi, against the continuation of this method of examination, suggesting and demanding for alternative methods.
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