Published: 10th May 2022
Concerns have been left unaddressed, say DU students. Demands for OBE quashed
“The case was dismissed on the very first day of the hearing. The students are pretty upset and have lost all hope,” says DU student
As the plea for Open Book Exams (OBE) has been rejected by the Delhi High Court, the students of Delhi University (DU), who had been campaigning for it for months now state that they have been disappointed. On May 6, it was reported that the court had refused to interfere with the university’s decision to conduct physical exams instead of online open book exams and had dismissed the petition submitted by the students.
The petition was being heard by Justice Rekha Palli, who said that it was “not the stage to issue any directions and granted liberty to the petitioners to approach the court in case of any change in the circumstances,” as was reported by PTI. The court allowed the petitioners to withdraw the petition and said that the pleas were "dismissed as withdrawn".
“The case was dismissed on the very first day of the hearing,” says Himani Singh, a DU student. “The students are pretty upset and have lost all hope. They are completely dejected. There are still some students who are trying to make things work in favour of online exams. They are trying to talk to the authorities, but nothing much can be done now,” she adds. “I wasn’t happy with the decision. We had a lot of hopes that we would have open book exams,” says Shriya Kasubhaya, another final-year student at DU’s Ramjas College.
DU had earlier released notices stating that the exams for the final semesters will be conducted physically. This had led to protests, starting from early April. The students had demanded that since most of the syllabus had been covered online, the exams should also be conducted online and had placed their demands for OBE. There were also problems with accommodating students in hostels and many students were unable to travel to the university to write the exams. Students had also claimed that if exams are conducted offline, they would be unable to score well, which would affect their future job prospects.
The issue had finally reached the Delhi High Court later in the month, after the DU administration had remained adamant on conducting physical exams. “The admin has completely ignored the issue. It has been hell-bent on its decision,” says Himani. She also says that except for giving some concessions to students when the protests for OBE started, like providing them with extra time to write the exams, the administration has not addressed any of their concerns.
“The students had been demanding for OBE and now that it is not happening, the issues regarding accommodations and other concerns remain unsolved. The administration also made no considerations after the initial concessions,” she says. “There are many students who have been unable to come to the university for the exams,” she adds.
On the other hand, Shriya, who has moved back to the university, says, “Even though the university has called us to Delhi, we hardly got to attend the offline classes. The infrastructure was in a very bad condition, to start with. About 200 students were made to sit in a single classroom with only one teacher. We did not have proper benches and students had to sit on the floor too. The classes were also not held in a proper manner. Most of the time, there were protests going on by the teachers and students, which affected the regular classes. After all this, offline exams are unfair.”
She also says that the students are facing difficulty commuting to the colleges, “In the times of COVID-19, students have to depend on public transport, which is not safe." Another student of the university, Shreya Reddy, who studies at SRCC, has stated that settling in the city has also been difficult for the students. “The university had given us a week’s time to come to Delhi and settle down. Because of the sudden rise in demand for accommodations, their prices shot up,” says Shreya.
It could be concluded that the students are mostly concerned about the difficulties with travelling and accommodations. “There are students who have missed their practicals because they were unable to travel. The university had earlier released a circular stating that it would allow such students a second chance to appear for the exams. These exams would probably have been held in July. But when we approached the administration about the matter, it told us that it does not know anything about any such provision,” says Himani.
“The final exams are scheduled to begin on May 11. The practical exams are going on at present. And students are busy studying,” Himani informs. “It is not going to be an easy exam. The Science students, especially, will have a lot of difficulty coping up mostly because of practicals. For the Humanities students as well it is going to be tough, especially for the Political Science students,” she opines.
“Now we are not learning for knowledge. We are just mugging up. Since there is very little time to prepare and most of the syllabus has been covered online, we are just looking up the question papers of the last 10 to 15 years,” Shreya says. “Also the university had given us only a week’s time to attend offline classes. So looking for accommodations, bonding with classmates and settling down itself took most of the time,” she adds.