85% Delhi University Students Against Open Book Exam: DUTA Survey 

The teachers’ association pointed out how a lot of students don’t have access to laptops, internet connectivity.

3 min read
Delhi University.

Around 85 percent students in the University of Delhi (DU) are against the proposed open book examination (OBE) for final year students, reveals a survey of 51,000 university students conducted by the Delhi University Teachers Association.

According to the DUTA, under the OBE format, students of the final year will be sent a set of four to six questions through an online medium. They will then have to upload handwritten answers to these questions within three hours, during which they can refer to books and other study material.

However, multiple revelations in the survey suggest that conducting OBE may not a feasible move, as has been repeatedly pointed out by DUTA.

For example, around 33.7 percent students said that they were not able to attend online classes though Google Meet, Zoom or any other application.

In addition, around 38 percent respondents said that had attended less than half of the total online classes conducted for them.

The survey also reveals that 38 percent students in DU have not been able to access reading material online, even if it been provided to them. Moreover, around 11.9 percent students stated that they had not received any reading material whatsoever.

Only 15.3 % Have Laptops

On the technological front, students said that:

  • 6.7 percent have no internet connection.
  • 10.9 percent have only have 2G mobile internet.
  • 8.3 percent have no smartphone, laptop or tablet.
  • 74 percent have only smartphone.
  • Only 15.3 percent have laptops.

Addressing a online press conference on these findings, DUTA President Dr Rajib Ray said that this survey had affirmed their argument that conducting OBE exams in DU would not be feasible.

“In my house there could be a problem with laptops or the internet. Answering four to six questions in three hours is not possible with such poor internet. A student told us that there is no electricity and so it is very difficult for him do do any work and has asked us for help.”
Rajib Ray, DUTA President

90% Unprepared, 80% Unable to Concentrate

Based on their access to online classes, availability of study material and ownership of devices, students were then asked if they were prepared for university examinations at this juncture.

In their response, 90 percent students said that they feel unprepared for a university examination at the moment. Similarly, over 80 percent students said they are unable to concentrate on studies at their current place of residence.

The solution to this crisis, said DU Professor Abha Dev Habib, lies in combining internal assessment with an average of marks scored by final year students in the last five semesters.

“The departments of Sociology, History and Economics have written that there should be a balance between internal assessment and marks earned by students through centralised exams earlier. If a student has completed five semesters, the average grade point can be taken.”
Professor Abha Deb Habib, DU

While DU has said that it will consider OBE for final-year students if the situation doesn’t return to normal, it has not yet decided on how exams for first and second-year students will be conducted.

The developments at DU come almost a month after the University Grants Commission suggested that final year examinations should be conducted in July, while allowing colleges to explore different options for the same. For the first and second-year, the UGC had given universities the option to cancel exams and combine internal assessment with scores of previous semesters to evaluate students, only if the situation did not appear normal.

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