Published: 12th April 2022
Jantar Mantar echoes with demands for open book exams as DU students take protest outside college campus
The students of Delhi University have planned a massive protest at Jantar Mantar on April 12 in a bid to have the university board continue the open book exams for all four semesters
The demand for Open Book Exams (OBE) at Delhi University takes a new turn, as students have organised a full-fledged protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on April 12 at 11 am. The students have been demanding for online OBE for a long time now, since the DU board has announced that offline exams will be held for final-year students in May and June. The OBE mode was announced in February and was to continue till April, after which the board says that it had decided to conduct offline exams. But students say that the announcement for offline exams had come at very short notice and wanted the online mode to continue. On April 4, a massive protest had been held. Many students had even been detained by the police and a case had been lodged.
Commenting on the issue, the University advisory had stated, "The students have been given some concessions like additional 30 minutes for writing the exam, remedial classes, but they are not ready to agree.” The students, however, said that there was no point in giving additional time. And because they had studied 75-80% of the syllabus online, the exams should also be held online. There are various other concerns of the students, which students allege that the DU board has disregarded, let alone address them.
Himani Singh, a student at the university, says, "There is hardly any time left to prepare for the exams. They (the college board members) are also discriminating. Why should students appearing for odd semesters be given OBE, while those in even semesters face offline exams?" The students are also worried about accommodations that they will need to rent for writing the exams offline. "The hostels are available to only a few final-year students. The rest of us have to rent rooms nearby. The rent prices are sky-rocketing. And additional costs of three meals a day and transportation also have to be borne by the students" she spoke. "There is also the fact that foreign students wouldn't be able to make it to the university due to visa issues," another student had mentioned.
That isn't all. There are a few more existing concerns on the part of the students. Science students had not had any practical experiments done, so would face difficulty, they claim. A student further stated that online exams were causing stress and mental pressure for them, so they should be revoked. The agitators were also very unhappy about the police crackdown on their protest on April 4 in front of the Arts Faculty. Many students took to social media to express their anger over the issue and claimed that their fundamental rights were being taken away by using police brutality. Many students who couldn’t physically participate in the protest had sought to voice their demands on social media with posts having tags like @OBE_FOR_ALL and #WewantOBE.
The protests are still continuing without the students or the DU administration having reached any mutual solution. About seven to eight protests have been organised so far inside the campus, but Article 144 has been applied a few days ago and students have been cautioned against being seen in groups of more than four. "DU Proctor Prof Rajni Abbi has issued a warning to the students," says Himani. The protest of April 12 has been taken outside the campus for this reason. "Around 3,000-4,000 students had participated in April 4 protest. This time we are planning to hold one on an even larger scale," she stated.
The students have determined to continue the protests till the DU administration has fulfilled their demand. "The board has been very adamant. We have not received any answers to our memorandums also," Himani complains. She further adds that DU isn't the only university facing demands for online exams. "We are not the only ones. Many other universities faced similar issues and they have granted the requests for online open-book exams," she said. With the April 12 protest, students are hoping to get the board to listen to them.