The Debate on Online Exams
The entire world is experiencing unprecedented difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The nationwide lockdown has resulted in universities and colleges throughout the country to close, disrupting the regular academic schedule. Research and classroom activities have been adversely affected, resorting to on- line methods. In order to safeguard the interests of the academic fraternity and especially the students, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has released suggestions for the end semester exams for this even semester and future academic calendar for the country’s Universities.
The guidelines state that if the situation does not improve, then the assessment of students can be done on the basis of 50% marks of internal evaluation and remaining 50% marks on the basis of performance in the previous semester, which, if in any case are not avail- able, then 100% evaluation may be done on the basis of internal assessments only.
A new academic calendar was also suggested by the UGC which may be adopted only after viewing the status of the pandemic in the coming days. The main suggestions were to extend the current even semester to 15th May 2020 while the finalization of internal assessment, assignment etc. can continue till 15th June 2020. The summer vacations would be from 16th to 30th June 2020 and external examinations can be conducted in July 2020 if the situation gets better by then. The new session would start in August with new admissions starting in September. In a nutshell, the 2020-21 academic session could be extended by approximately one month due to this pandemic.
As far as Delhi University is concerned, authorities are contemplating conducting end-semester exams online, based on the classes held online. This had resulted in a lot of backlash from students. Students in a prestigious public university like DU come from all walks of life and all across the country. Most outstation students have returned to their hometowns, and may not have access to a fast internet connection, personal computers, or even a quiet space in their house, which are essential for on- line exams. Another reason why conducting exams has received a lot of criticism is the fact with a situation like this across the globe, many students will not be in the correct state of mind to take exams. With institutes such as Mumbai University and IIT Bombay cancel all intermediate exams, there is immense pressure on the authorities of DU to do the same.