Published: 10th June 2020
Delhi HC says DU can now conduct OB online exams, much to teachers and students' angst
The decision was criticised previously by a lot of teacher and student organisations. The DUSU, however, welcomed the university's stand
The Delhi High Court has said that they will not stop or interfere in the varsity's decision to hold open book online exams in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown. While hearing a petition against this by the National Federation of the Blind, the Delhi High Court on June 9 said that it would not interfere in the matter. However, it had asked the university and the UGC to work out a solution to also enable disabled students to write the examinations.
The court had observed, "We are of the prima facie view that once the academic authorities competent to take a decision in this regard have taken a decision to hold an examination and to, besides the examination tentatively scheduled from July 1, 2020, also hold a physical examination later, as and when the present situation improves, for those unable to participate in the said examination, there is no need to interfere in the decision of the academic authorities."
The University of Delhi's decision to conduct online Open Book Examinations for its final year students had created a lot of hue and cry among the teacher and student community. A while ago, various organisations had conducted online and offline protests against this. Previously, various surveys had stated that Open Book Examinations will not be a practical solution. Many did not have gadgets to appear for the examinations. A lot of them raised concerns over a lack of a proper system to monitor for malpractice too.
Commenting on the ruling, Rajib Ray, President, Delhi University Teachers' Association said, "Whatever is good for the first and second-year students should be valid for the final year students too." The university has already announced that the first-year, second-year students will be promoted and marks will be awarded on the basis of past performance and internal assessment.
DUSU president Akshit Dahiya was yet to see the judgment. "We agree that there's no 'one size fits all' solution here. The university had agreed to our demand for conducting offline examinations for students who do not have access to the internet. We welcome that," he says. "There should also be a centralised system in place for students to access study materials," he added.
Understandably, this did not go down well with the students. A lot of DU students had raised their concerns about them not having their study materials, three weeks away from the examinations. "How can we write the open book examination when we do not have books?" asked a student of Sree Ram College of Commerce. "Also, we question the merit of the conduct of these examinations," she said. The judgment, however, says that the university has assured it "the study material of any of the students is locked in the hostel rooms, which the students were directed to vacate, the provision shall be made to enable the students to collect the said material as and when desired by them."