Delhi University (Picture: PTI)
Delhi University (Picture: PTI)

Demand for Open Book Exams grows amongst DU students, DUSU yet to take a stand

Students' Federation of India Delhi President Sumit Kataria said, "No left-affiliated students' outfit is supporting this demand for OBE"

Delhi University students have been demanding an Open Book Exam for the even-semester scheduled in the month of May. Multiple student outfits have been holding a protest against the pen-and-paper exams, however, the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) is yet to take a clear stand on the issue. 

The varsity opened its doors for students in mid-February after two years of COVID lockdown. Considering the sudden shift from online education to in-person classes, the DU administration held the odd semester as Open Book Exams and announced earlier itself that the even-semester exams will be held as traditional pen-and-paper exams. The last date to fill up the exam form is April 15. 

While the Congress-affiliated National Student Union of India (NSUI) is strongly opposing the upcoming in-person exams, the BJP-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, which leads the DUSU, has not issued a 'for' or 'against' statement with regards to the pen-and-paper exams. 

Speaking to Edexlive, DUSU President Akshit Dahiya said, "There are a number of issues that students are facing, one of them is also how the exams should be conducted. We will be holding a meeting on Monday (April 4) regarding multiple issues and then we will be releasing a statement." 

The DUSU NSUI secretary, Ashish Lamba, addressed a letter to DU Vice-Chancellor on March 25 where he said, "They (students) have only got 20-25 lectures in offline mode. Some of their offline classes have also been missed because of the short time given to shift to Delhi. Furthermore, the students of the Science stream have had problems attending their practicals. It is really hectic and burdensome for them to suddenly appear for the offline exam." 

Lamba added, "I kindly request you to look into this matter and provide blended/hybrid mode of examination for the students of even semester as students of the odd semester are being given. All the students should be given a choice to appear in the examination either remotely or physically." NSUI began its "indefinite strike" outside the Delhi University's Arts Faculty on March 30. Delhi NSUI President Kunal Sehrawat said that the strike is still on and that he will be meeting with the varsity registrar on April 1 to discuss the issue further. 

The ones who are against
Communist Party of India (Marxist)-affiliated Students' Federation of India Delhi President Sumit Kataria said, "No left-affiliated students' outfit is supporting this demand for OBE." This was also echoed by the left-affiliated Democratic Teachers' Front member and former Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) officer bearer Abha Dev Habib. "The students are asking for an online open-book exam, which the DU has been conducting as a completely un-proctored exam. All teachers believe that OBE will be a huge dilution of their degrees, they should snap out of it and they should start preparing," said Habib, an associate professor at DU’s Miranda House College. 

Dev added that the OBE that happens around the world is very tough and proctored. However, the OBE that DU holds has no checks-and-balance mechanism due to scarcity of resources. "The exam they are demanding is not OBE per se, it is an online un-proctored exam." 

DUTA executive, Mahendra Kumar Meena, who is an assistant professor at DU's Shivaji College, said, "Outstation students have been demanding OBE but it is the university that will decide. Most likely, the exams will be carried out offline. Students will think from their perspective and administration and teachers have their own perspective." Meena is a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-backed National Democratic Teachers Front.

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