On July 14, final year student from 31 colleges of University of Delhi issued a compiled statement opposing the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) decision to conduct sixth-semester exam in the middle of a pandemic. The statement highlights the exclusionary format of the proposed online open book exam (OBE).
According to the statement, the mock tests conducted recently are testament to the fact that not all students have access to the requisite online resources. “Out of a total of 2 lakh final year students, only 1.1 lakh students were able to register & out of these only 26% were able to upload their answers, which is only 13% of the total students that were supposed to give the exam,” it reads.
In addition, the students talk about facing difficulties while uploading their documents online and even getting questions out of their course during the mock tests.
UGC, on the other hand, appears to be standing firm on its decision and the ministry of human resource department too has stayed silent on the issue despite the apparent failure of the mock tests and the countrywide students protests, reads the statement. According to the students, the university should use previous semester’s scores to release the final assessment, instead of conducting any exam – either offline or online.
“We would like to emphasise on the fact that when Universities across the country have been following a modular programme of semesterisation (as mandated by the UGC itself) with all semesters having roughly equal weighting and with absolutely no extra weighting accorded to the final semester, the idea of going through just one more semester (when we have already been through five others) is a ridiculously farcical idea,” reads the statement.
The repeated emphasis on online exam, statement says, is also a means to promote a neo-liberal education model and pave way for privatisation of higher education – which will further sideline students who don’t come from privileged social backgrounds.
“Despite outsourcing the web portal services to Amazon Web Services (another stepping stone in the direction of systematic privatisation of higher education), the institution was not able to make its portal accessible to students possessing internet connection anything below the spectrum of a high speed 4G connection,” says the statement.
Therefore, students have demanded that the UGC cancels online exam for sixth semester students.
“We, the students of our respective departments and colleges of the University of Delhi, stand against DU’s Online Open Book Exams,” reads the statement.
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