Here’s Why Delhi University Students Are Against Open Book Exams

Final-year students at the University of Delhi have been opposing the decision to conduct open book exams.

2 min read

Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia

“In this pandemic situation, who will agree to write any examination?” wonders Kanupriya, a final-year MA student at the University of Delhi, amid growing disquiet over the central varsity’s decision to conduct open book examinations (OBEs) for final-year undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Kanupriya, a partially-blind student, had travelled back home to Bihar’s Katihar district and has little or no study material with herself.

But adding to her worries is the OBEs, which requires a student to first download questions and then upload PDF files of answer scripts to the university’s portal.

Although the university has allowed persons with disabilities (PWDs) five hours to complete the entire process, as opposed to three for those without disabilities, Kanupriya is worried about finding a scribe, who could write exams for her, that too, in Bihar.

“Who will ascertain if someone has coronavirus or not? The college is telling us that we will be provided with writers in our states. But how? In a state like Bihar, where there are a lot of connectivity issues, providing a writer is a difficult task.”
Kanupriya, DU Student

Can Students Access Common Service Centres?

Apart from scribes, students without disabilities in Jammu and Kashmir and in Assam say that connectivity is a major hurdle for them. Final-year MA student Khansa, who has gone back to Pulwama, says that frequent security operations and encounters in her state often lead to prolonged internet blackouts.

“How will the university guarantee us that nothing like this will happen during the exam, that an an encounter won’t take place and that there won’t be a blackout? After all, they don’t ask for our permission before snapping the internet or before snapping the mobile network.”
Khansa, DU Student

The university has said that students without access to internet or facing connectivity issues can write exams at common service centres across the country. But, for many like Anindita, that too is not an option.

“We have rainfall continuously for four to five days, from dusk till dawn, which floods the area and limits the mobility,” she said.

Online or Offline?

The university has allowed students who are unable to appear for OBEs a second chance to appear for offline exams, when the situation returns to normal. But students say that too is against their interests.

“If we give offline examinations, when will we prepare for entrance examinations? In the future, we will have to give PG entrance exams.”
Saravagya, Final-Year UG Student

The solution, students say, lies in scrapping final-year exams and evaluating students on the basis of scores obtained in previous semesters.

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