Published: 17th June 2020
DUTA submits petition to PM Modi, asks him to intervene and stop Delhi University's online exam
DU unilaterally decided to conduct online open book examinations for its final year students. After the VC, Delhi High Court and several others turned the teachers down, they have written to the PM
The Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA) has submitted a petition, containing 15,701 signatures by students, parents and teachers, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to intervene in the university's decision to conduct Open Book Examinations (OBE) for final year students. Copies of the letter have been submitted to Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, University Grants Commission (UGC) chairperson D P Singh and DU Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi.
In an online press conference on Wednesday, DUTA president Rajib Ray said, "Students went home around Holi without books or any other study material. They have no attended any classes either. The system isn't properly structured to conduct OBEs. We will be unable to prevent malpractices and the exams will be dishonest. Therefore, we have asked the Prime Minister to intervene. We expect him to understand the students' stress more than the HRD ministry and VC."
Speaking about the state of students amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Ray said, "Some parts of the country are still under lockdown and they don't have access to adequate infrastructure. Delhi University is for the students and their welfare should be considered before going ahead with exams." The same was mentioned in the online petition, which read, "The uncertainties regarding health and livelihood due to the COVID-19 pandemic are a cause of immense stress for all, especially our terminal semester/year students, who were hoping for successful completion of studies and looking forward to the future." Ray added, "DUTA doesn't usually take such drastic steps but we have been left with no other options."
Conducting online, open book examinations will be a challenge with students at their homes and lacking necessary infrastructure. "Some colleges are conducting foreign language certificate courses examinations in the OBE system. They have reported that some students didn't send their roll numbers along with the uploads while some other haven't uploaded the full answer script. The teacher has had to track the student down and asked them to upload again. How will this be possible in an online examination?" said DUTA Treasurer Abha Dev Habib.
Not only that, the exercise requires a significant amount of data transmission. "Considering that there will be a 10% failure rate, at least 12.5 lakh documents have to be uploaded and downloaded during the examination," stated Ray. It is also unfair to the physically challenged students. The petition reads, "It is highly discriminatory towards a large section, including physically challenged students, with drastically unequal access to books and resources, offline as well as online."