Published: 23rd April 2020
DU faces heat over online exams, teachers speak of semester extension
A group of teachers have written to the V-C arguing that the varsity administration must focus on extending the academic calendar
Delhi University's probable plans to conduct online examinations for 6th semester have started to face friction even before it could take steps. A group of professors along with various students have started to raise concerns with the probable plan.
The teachers cited a letter by the Dean of Faculty of Technology in Delhi University to the Vice Chancellor that suggested the DU administration give up plans for online examinations. The teachers argue that instead of focusing on online examinations, the varsity administration must focus on extending the academic calendar and taking sit-in examinations.
The group of teachers called Academics for Action and Development (AAD) shared the concern raised by the Dean, Faculty of Technology, University of Delhi, Sachin Maheshwari who in a letter to Vice Chancellor of DU spoke about the conduct of online examinations by the university without taking into consideration the concerns of the stakeholders, that is the students and teachers, and without consulting the statutory bodies, the Executive Council and the Academic Council.
In the letter Maheshwari states, "Apart from genuinely feeling for the academic loss of students, other nefarious reasons involving financial, political interests etc can't be ruled out. In the wake of the present situation some of the software companies are out there in luring academic leaders to procure extensive software citing some untested functionalities."
The letter also cites Double Bench Judgment of the Supreme Court in 2017, which can raise legal questions regarding credit earning through distance mode. AAD though targeted the recent crash of DU server on the very first day that it called for filling up the online exam form portal. "The insensitivity shown by the administration towards students stuck in remote areas with poor connectivity issue is condemnable. The university should wait for students to come back to Delhi after the lockdown has lifted, give few days of actual teaching before commencing the examination process," AAD said. Thirdly, with several instances of online security being compromised while using apps such as Zoom also raises serious concerns about hacking and inappropriate behaviour.
Addressing the media through video conferencing, Rajesh Jha who is also a member of executive council said, "Why do you want to focus on online exams, you do not have proper infrastructure plus the government is yet to decide on extending the academic calendar. I think its an attempt to set a precedent which other central universities will follow, keeping aside welfare of students." He claimed that in a meeting called at south campus to discuss the prospectus of online examinations, 17 Deans of different faculties of the Delhi University unanimously voted out the option and voiced for sit-in exams after the lockdown is over.
Delhi University however maintained that "for now online examinations were the only option left". However, it claimed that the final decision will be taken only after the committees formed by the UGC and MHRD submit their reports on the ways out for the education system.