DU OBE Exams: Delhi High Court wants clarity from DU on arrangements for visually impaired students

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The Delhi High Court is presently in the process of hearing several petitions, including the one filed by Prateek Sharma and another by the National Federation of the Blind in relation to the final semester examination to be conducted by the Delhi University (DU).

On Thursday, the Delhi High Court asked for certain clarifications from the administration of DU regarding the availability of scribes for visually impaired students. The High Court is not satisfied with the arrangements made by the institution for the Open Book Examinations (OBE).

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The counsel for DU in the Delhi HC, senior advocate Sachin Dutta could not put forth all the data regarding the examination process and the necessary arrangements for the same, especially for the differently-abled students that were sought for by the HC. The data also includes the documentation of the two phases of the mock tests. However, Dutta said that the tabulated data proposed before the court was only for the first two days and not for the complete first phase. Apart from that, the High Court has listed down several other matters whose hearing would be on August 4, following which one can assume a better sense of clarity regarding the issue.

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Senior advocate SK Rungta, representing the National Federation of Blind stated that the visually impaired students have no clue as to where the common service centre was looking for scribes. There are presently around 180 visually challenged students who require reading materials, assistive devices, and writers. However, they have not received any notification about it.

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It was brought to attention that only 486 out of the 647 persons with disabilities students, logged in and out for the mock test. While 50% of the 182 visually impaired students logged in, a very small percentage of them uploaded the answer sheet. Another aspect of the situation that is being conveniently ignored is the visually impaired students in remote areas who do not have the means to access the Internet.

Dutta went on to defend the OBE by pointing out that the exam was optional and students who opt out of it can sit for physical examination and that DU would make sincere efforts to arrange for a scribe upon request. As a sigh of relief, the court, for now, has said that it is not sure whether to conduct OBE for visually impaired students or not.

Another point that was brought to the table was that out of the 2.4 thousand who had initially filled out the form, merely 1.82 thousand registered them on the portal. 74,180 students also participated in the first phase of the mock test.

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Apoorva Iyer
Apoorva Iyer is a student of B.A Political Science (Hons.) at Deshbandhu College, Delhi University.

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