DU?gung ho about final year open book exams; students rue

  • | Wednesday | 5th August, 2020

Delhi University, which conducted the first phase of online mock tests in July, has started with the second phase. The open book online mock examinations will be held till August 4. While some universities have exempted final year students owing to Covid 19 precautions, no such respite seems likely for DU students. Final year students who wrote the exams talk about the hurdles they faced and what they expect of the university.

New Delhi: Delhi University, which conducted the first phase of online mock tests in July, has started with the second phase. The open book online mock examinations will be held till August 4. While some universities have exempted final year students owing to Covid 19 precautions, no such respite seems likely for DU students. Final year students who wrote the exams talk about the hurdles they faced and what they expect of the university.

“Mock tests are a mockery. Political science students were given the question paper for Geography. Later, they covered it up saying that this was just for sample. The site on which you can’t upload simple documents weighing in KBs and that crashes on results day, how do you expect to upload megabytes of answer sheets,” questions Dishant Grewal, final year Political Science student at Kirori Mal College. Internet connectivity has been a matter of grave concern for outstation students who left for their hometowns. Benna Fathima, a final year Sociology student at Hindu College who went back to Kerala in March, says that during monsoon, there are frequent power cuts. “The electricity just goes off and there is no internet. The university has made provisions for students to go to a centre in case they can’t write from home, but I live in a containment zone. Where do I go? I have my exam on August 13, but I am hoping it gets cancelled or postponed, otherwise I am doomed,” she says.

The problem with online exams is not just technical; the build up to prepare has lead to anxiety for many. Priyanshi Singh, a final year History student at Miranda House, who gave her mock test on August 1 from her hometown Ayodhya, says that the question paper was different from the ones they were used to. “This question paper missed certain themes. We usually get eight themes, with an option to answer any four. This paper had six themes with an option to answer any three. Many of my friends don’t have a laptop and had to upload from their mobile phone. At first, it showed uploaded, but within 10 minutes, it showed error,” she says.

Adding to their worries is the time limit in which they have to scan, upload, fill in details and answer the questions. “All this in three hours…do we write the answers or spend time filling in roll numbers on each side? It was very haphazard. I would like to dissociate myself from the OBEs. I spent my days in anxiety and it has taken a mental toll on many of us. Despite repeated petitions, there is no solution. We are helpless,” says Singh.

Students from various colleges and courses have filed petitions requesting that exams be cancelled. With no assurance on a concrete course of action, they are unable to apply for further studies. “In the first phase, only around 26% of the students sat for the mocks. Many students went home, where they don’t even have proper internet connection. There is a time limit during which the link remains active. What do we do in these scenarios? We have written to the VC and the chancellor but to no avail,” says Ashish Lamba, final year student at Campus Law Centre.

Till the time final year students are graded, they can’t apply for higher studies or jobs, creating a state of limbo. “I appeal that the exams be cancelled, and instead we are graded on our past performance, or given assignments. In any case, these are open book exams, so what difference does it make if we submit assignments,” says Mayank Madaan, final year B.Com student at Satyawati College.



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