Four professors of the University of Delhi have written a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind against the university’s “arbitrary decision” to hold exams online through the ‘open-book’ examination mode if the coronavirus pandemic situation does not normalise.
These four professors are Kaushal Panwar, Premchand, Anil Kumar, and Deepankar. In the letter, the professors wrote that open book examinations will push students, belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC), Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), and those with disabilities (PWD or Divyaang), on the wrong side of the digital divide.
“Our appeal to your good office has acquired urgency as the university administration unilaterally decided and wrote a letter on May 13, 2020, to all heads of departments for preparing three sets of question papers for the open-book examination,” the letter said, as stated by the Financial Express.
The online ‘open book’ examination pattern would allow students to refer to books, notes and other study material to answer questions. Students will have to download the question papers for their respective courses from the web portal sitting at home. They will be given two hours to write the answers and an extra hour will be provided for downloading the question paper and uploading the answer script. “This move to organise remote open-book examination will push the higher education towards privatisation,” the professors added.
They further said that the open book and close book systems are completely different things. The requirements of question papers are also different for these two examination patterns. Claiming that open-book examination pattern “will promote a type of discrimination among the students at different levels”, the professors mentioned that only students who have resources can benefit.
They also added that the provision of consulting matters with the varsity’s academic and executive councils was flouted by the university administration as they urged President Kovind to “stop this social discriminatory examination method in the university”.
Meanwhile, the RSS-affiliated student organisation Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) led Delhi University Students’ Union organised a General Body Meeting of Delhi University Student Representatives which also included 8 DUSU executive council members and 41 elected college Students’ Union representatives of the respective colleges.
The DUSU further held a meeting with the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) to discuss the present situation on academics and exams. A comprehensive and integral discussion took place in the meeting to come up with the best solution-centric approach for academics as well as examinations keeping in mind the interests of students, a statement said, according to the Deccan Herald.