DUTA Writes to Vice Chancellor to Slash Online Exams

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With the protests against online examinations echoing across the University, the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) has also stepped in to register its “strong protest for this manner of functioning” adopted by the University administration, “whereby all statutory processes have been thrown to the winds and all statutory bodies trampled upon.” Condemning the “bureaucratic approach” of the administration in a letter to the Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi, the Association highlighted the exclusion of the elected teacher representatives to the “Working Group on Examinations.”

Surprisingly, the Working Group consists of the Dean and the Faculty of Social Sciences and not the Department Teachers who are more “connected to the students and their everyday realities” including “Internal Assessment, Examinations, and Admissions.” The Academic Council has, also, allegedly been “side-lined consistently” during the discussion for the Internal Assessment Guidelines. The Association has “been receiving messages and panic calls from large numbers of students and teachers” due to the uncertainty, thus pushing against the University’s “unsustainable” idea. Criticizing lack of “a complete comprehensive proposal with suitable modifications to the Academic Calendar,” the Association has demanded expansion of the Working Group to facilitate the inclusion of Teachers.

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In the letter, the Association has deemed the idea of online examinations to be “discriminatory to all those students who do not have access to technology in all its forms (printers, scanners, computers even in many cases and reliable and stable internet connections)” along with the inability of DU website to handle such a heavy load. Slamming the concept of an Open Book Examination, “DUTA considers that the online methods of teaching cannot substitute face to face teaching and hence, a system of examinations that do not take into account this aspect is unacceptable.”

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“The fact that many students were taken by surprise by the lockdown and found themselves without notes, materials and even their books” is a primary concern because “teaching through e-resources has been uneven and has failed to reach large sections of students.” With the differently-abled students forming a sizeable part of the University’s student community, “lack of material in their remote locations, arranging for writers, etc are some of the issues.” “The strict adherence to the pattern of 4 questions to be attempted out of 6” fails the very essence of the University’s “extremely diverse courses, whose specific nature and mode of testing vary greatly.”

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According to the letter, “the University has set aside the detailed feedback from the DUTA, inputs of several Deans and students’ petitions” “in deciding this form of Examinations.” All in all, the DUTA has put forward its “opposition to an online remote-process examination” and demanded “that the pen-paper option be given to” “its diverse student population.” Furthermore, it has suggested “the possibility of giving provisional degrees to its students based on their CGPA of 5 semesters” or “on their marks obtained in IA.”

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