‘How Will We Write Online Exams?’: DU’s Visually Impaired Students

“Where there is a pandemic, when everyone is looking after their safety, who will come to write the exams for us?”

My Report
2 min read

Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
Video Producer: Aliza Noor
Illustration: Erum Gour

Like most other universities around the country, Delhi University is going to hold online examinations for its students because of the coronavirus outbreak, with an uncertainty lying over their heads.

We were recently notified about an online book examination (OBE) due to begin from 1 July. The question raised by many students was accessibility. To what extent are these online book exams actually accessible to the underprivileged sections of the society?

With regard to the visually impaired students appearing for the OBE, we think the university has not taken into consideration our needs.

We feel that this mode of examination is in essence a mode of exclusion.

Problems in Getting a Scribe

All the Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) mostly belong to rural areas where there are not only internet connection problems but also problems in getting a scribe. It's not easy to get a scribe, noted Sandeep, a final year BA student.

Now in such a situation where there is a pandemic, when everyone is looking after their safety, who will come to write the exams for us?

Kanupiya, a final year MA student, concurs.

“Who will ensure if the writer or the student has coronavirus or not? We don’t get competent writers. For example, my major is English honours so I need a writer who is somewhat fluent in English or can grasp what I want to convey in writing.”

It seems as if it is not us but the university that is blind to our problems. Not only this, they are deaf to the problems of other students as well.

The university must realise the problems in conducting classes and exams in a situation like this.

The online mode is not accessible. Classes are taken on Zoom or Meet. How will we access them? Many don’t have the devices. We need digiplayer, netbook to use screenreader so that we can study.

Only some students have these means and those who did left it in college. We cannot go back to college, so in this situation, so how will we give the exams?

“In the Holi break, a lot of students went back home. Hence, they don’t have the material right now to prepare for exams.” 

Kanupriya is a partially-blind student and can read a little with difficulty.

“I am trying to manage to study a little. Also, I watch videos on YouTube, or discuss with friends for preparation. But this is not the way it should happen.”

In such a situation, we are left hopeless and helpless. Our future and our career is in jeopardy.

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