Over 170 DU teachers ask VC to not hold online exams, say will compromise sanctity

On Wednesday, some teachers and students also launched online campaign against the move

Over 170 DU teachers ask VC to not hold online exams, say will compromise sanctity

New Delhi, May 21

Over 170 teachers of the Delhi University have urged Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi to not consider holding online open-book exams, saying the move is “least desirable in the current situation” and risks compromising the sanctity of the examination process.

DU has said it will hold online open-book exams for students in case the COVID-19 situation does not improve, triggering opposition from a section of students and teachers.

On Wednesday, some teachers and students had also launched an online campaign against the move.

However, in their letter to the VC, the teachers suggested alternatives, saying the final semester students be passed based on internal assessments for this semester and not be assigned any grades for this semester’s papers.

“The overall grade of the students should thus be the one achieved till the last semester... Many universities in the US are following this or a similar method,” they said in the letter.

They also suggested that the grades for the current semester be constituted based on the performance of the previous semesters along with a component of their gardens in internal assessments.

The economics professors said there were “very serious hindrances” to the time-bound online open-book examinations in the pattern suggested by the university.

Many students have gone back home without proper study material while many of them reside in cramped spaces, and the domestic situation might not be conducive for them to write an exam, they said.

“There are also serious issues about the sanctity of the exams. As this is designed to be online examinations, how will the university ensure that the answers that the students are uploading are not copied from each other (through parallel internet communication) or dictated by someone else? One of the serious issues here is that a teacher or a student can be pressurised or ‘incentivised’ in various forms to reveal the correct answer since the university will be in no position to stop parallel communication while the examination is on,” they said in the letter.

The varsity instruction that questions be set requiring a deeper understanding of the subject and ones that cannot be copied from elsewhere makes it more difficult for students.

“This is the least desirable in the current situation where students are under stress and often without adequate reading material,” they said.

The faculty members of the Department of Statistics, Ramjas College, have also written a letter to their principal against the move. They, too, raised the risks of the examination process being compromised.

“We believe that this kind of hurriedly held online examination will only promote an unfair process of evaluation, which is a serious matter for the future of the students. There is no way of ensuring that each student answers the paper by themselves and chances are high that students may not honestly provide the answers,” they said.

They said the mode would give undue advantage to students with better access to e-resources.

“The highly technical syllabus of BSc (H) Statistics, with complex algorithmic computations, makes it further difficult for students to comprehend through online mode of instructions,” their letter said.

They also raised the issue of availability and affordability of software packages such as SPSS, R and C++.

They suggested alternative methods like promoting students of the first and second year and waiting for an opportune time to conduct pen-paper exams.

For final-year students, the faculty members suggested allotting a sum of internal assessment of all papers of the current semester against 25 per cent of the total marks.

For the remaining 75 per cent, an average of total marks obtained in all preceding semesters can be used, they suggested. PTI

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