The University of Delhi, on May 30, released a list of measures to be taken by the affiliated colleges and departments for conducting the online open-book examinations for final semester students from July 1, 2020.
The measures comprise holding mock tests for students, notifying students through e-mail and other modes about the examinations, and filling up a pro forma by the candidates stating that no unfair means are being adopted by them.
According to the varsity’s notification, the students shall be allowed to use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure resources available with the Common Service Centres (CSC) academy for downloading and taking a printout of the question papers, scanning and uploading answer scripts on the portal. “For students residing in Jammu and Kashmir and other such areas which lack the internet and hardware facility required for the Open Book Examinations, the university has finalized to engage Common Service Centres (CSC), under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology,” it said.
The students can avail of all the above-mentioned facilities for free at CSCs. There are more than two lakh functional CSCs located at almost all gram panchayats at the village level throughout India and all of them shall be available for students, it added. The university further said that in case students miss out on taking the open-book examination (OBE), they will be given an opportunity to appear for a conventional method of pen and paper exams when the situation normalizes.
Though, the university’s decision has been met with opposition from students’ union and teachers’ bodies who have listed the problems of internet connectivity, the possibility of adoption of dishonest practices by students. Notwithstanding that, the varsity issued directives to colleges on the measures to be adopted. About this, the university said, “In view of the prevailing situation of COVID-19 pandemic, it is felt that the examinations cannot be conducted in the conventional mode as per the existing government norms of maintaining social distancing and ensuring safety and health of students.”
The mock tests will be available for the students on the university portal a week prior to the commencement of the exams so that students can make themselves accustomed to the new mode of exams. Also, for another concern of checking the use of any unfair means during the examinations, each student shall be signing an undertaking by clicking a button on the portal along with scanned images of answer scripts.
The university has further directed the college authorities that they should remain in contact with their students. Besides using the official E-mail and SMS services, messaging applications like WhatsApp may also be adopted for sending important information to the students. Colleges may invite online requests from students in case they need to use ICT infrastructure during examinations. The examination branch shall e-mail the question papers to the respective colleges on each day of the examination for every session 45 minutes prior to the commencement of the examination. Students shall answer the questions on plain A4 size sheets.
The total duration of the open-book exams shall be of three hours of which two hours shall be given to the candidates for answering the questions and an additional hour shall be utilized for downloading the question papers and uploading the scanned images of the answer scripts.