As pressure mounted from students and the Delhi High Court, reports of a complete lack of logistical support surfaced, putting the University on the backfoot.
The Delhi University’s dithering on its planned Open Book Exams (OBE) for final year students has not only had the students in a tizzy, but such indecisiveness had also irked the Delhi High Court, which yesterday (July 7) directed the university and the HRD ministry to take a clear stand on whether they recommend cancellation of final year examinations.
In the face of such opposition, the university seems to have gone on the backfoot and, as per reports, it may now hold the exams after August 15. It was originally scheduled for July 10.
While the court directive acted as the prime mover, the University Grants Commission (UGC) also seems to have sent an advisory to higher education institutions to assess their graduating batch by the end of September.
The issue had reached the offices of HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, who held a meeting yesterday and now it s learnt that the university is also looking for an extension of its admission window. This will allow students appearing for engineering and medical entrance tests. While the JEE (Main), is scheduled for September 1 to 6, NEET is scheduled for September 13. JEE (Advanced) is set for September 27.
Now it seems that DU might have to wait for these exams too to get over. Hence, even the August 15 date seems unlikely.
Yesterday, the Delhi High Court bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh, heard a petition filed by a final year PG student, Anupam, along with other students of Delhi University.
The students wanted a court directive on a June 6 notification of Delhi University which talked about conducting a remote, OBE for final year under graduate and PG students. This included students of School of Open Learning (SOL) and the Non-Collegiate Women’s Education Board (NCWEB).
The petitioners also requested the court to direct Delhi University to evaluate the final year students based on their results in the previous years or semesters. This was the manner in which the university has planned to promote the first and second year students.
Advocate Akash Sinha, representing the petitioners, detailed the problems faced by students. These included the lack of access to proper internet facilities. Many students are stuck in areas where there is complete lockdown and hence no internet access through cafes. Then there are some students stuck in flooded areas. Above all, the mock tests conducted by Delhi University were full of glitches. Many students of the University did not have access to online classes and they do not have their books and study material with them, because they are stuck elsewhere. The appeal was that conducting exams under such circumstances would amount to severe injustice to the students.
Among the instruction that the court passed yesterday were the following:
- … the DU shall place on record the following data:
a) The number of students who are studying in the final year of DU and the number of students who are registered for the final year examinations to be conducted through the online process;
b) A state-wise break-up of the students and from where they have to take the examinations;
c) Preparedness of the website portal for handling of the traffic during examinations, keeping in mind the recent technical glitches faced by students during the mock exams;
d) The schedule of examinations i.e., evaluation of papers, date for announcement of results and date for issuance of transcripts. While preparing and placing on record the schedule before this Court, DU shall bear in mind the deadlines for all the final year students who have to seek employment, deadlines for postgraduate entrance examinations, deadlines for submission of documents to international universities where students may have secured admission etc.”
The proposed inter-based exams have posed a serious logistical problem, as deposited before the court. It has also been reported that exam managers and operators from different parts in Haryana, Punjab and Assam seem to have no idea of the proposed OBE. They have reportedly said that they have not even received any notification.
-India Legal Bureau