University of Madras plans on moving to offline-only exams soon; learning loss a prime reason

Internal exams are already being conducted offline in some colleges and the UoM's VC says that results will be analysed to gauge the need for remedial classes
University of Madras | Pic: Wikimedia Commons
University of Madras | Pic: Wikimedia Commons

COVID-19 is well and truly on its way out, if one were to go by the University of Madras' recent move. The varsity has decided to conduct all its semester examinations for undergraduate and postgraduate students in the offline mode from November.

Speaking on the matter, Vice-Chancellor S Gowri told The New Indian Express that it is the right time for the return to offline examinations. "From November onwards, students will have to write all semester examinations physically in their classrooms. Classes have resumed, so it is the right time to get back to offline examination," said the VC, adding, "All the affiliated colleges will be asked to make necessary arrangements as per COVID-19 protocols to conduct offline exams."

Classes under the university are being conducted in the blended mode currently. In a few colleges, internal examinations are already being conducted offline. At the recently concluded syndicate meeting, sources said that a good number of the varsity's officials were of the opinion that conducting offline exams will ensure "quality and proper learning" among the students.

"What can you expect the student to learn if they have to write answers by seeing their books and uploading it later on. We are noticing that after attending online classes for over a year, it has become difficult for students to remain attentive in class," said a faculty member from the university.

During the pandemic, like other universities in the country, the University of Madras was also forced to conduct examinations online. Students were supposed to download question papers and the answers had to be uploaded within three hours of completing the exam. Students who were not able to do so were even given an option to send answer scripts through post.

"We are conducting the internals in shifts to avoid crowding. Only 25 students are made to sit in a classroom to ensure social distancing," said MG Ragunathan, Principal of Guru Nanak College in Chennai.

To ensure preparedness from all sides, there are talks of special classes to help students deal with any learning loss that might have happened during the pandemic. "An analysis of the internal examination results will be done and if it is noticed that students are not able to perform, then special remedial classes will be conducted to make up for the loss of learning during the pandemic, said Vice-Chancellor Gowri.

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