Talking Point: Why are students protesting against online exams

Lack of study material, ineffective online teaching and digital divide are some of the major concerns

Lopsided approach
The decision to conduct online exams by the Pondicherry University was one-sided as the student council was never consulted. Our survey found that around 50% of students did not have the required resources to appear for exams including a laptop, smartphone, or internet connection; some even lacking a stable electricity supply to their homes. While the university has withdrawn the decision, it has now left it to individual faculties to decide on the mode of assessment. As a one-time measure, students should be graded based on their performance last semester and internal assessments, something UGC has also allowed.
Parichay Yadav
President, Pondicherry University Student Council (PUSC)

New Delhi May 31 dmanewsdesk:

Lack of study material
With the academic cycle disrupted and the university taking to online teaching, half the student population at DU has not even received the required study materials to prepare for the exams. Many are away to their native places with their notes and book left behind in hostels. Most teachers and students strongly believe that online examinations are discriminatory to all those students who do not have access to technology to take exams. The ability of DU website to handle such a heavy load is also a point of concern as students have earlier reported difficulties even in submitting the exam forms.
Rajib Ray
President, Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA)

A problem for SOL too
School of Open Learning (SOL), DU, students have from the past year been demanding quality study material from authorities. The text in many books prepared by unknown authors is factually incorrect. There has been no peer review process which vetted the study materials prepared. Now they could not even attend part-time classes. SOL students are worse hit as most of them come from poor and marginalised backgrounds and are mostly first-generation learners from their respective families. Their home conditions do not support a suitable environment for self-study, moreover, invariably lack sufficient access to properly functional computers or smartphones.
Harish Gautam,
Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS), student union of SOL students

Online mode is exclusionary
Students in various central and state universities of the country come from all kinds of social and economic background and it is obvious that an exclusionary mode such as online examinations would be least suited to the requirements of the student community of this country. There is also a need for the common academic calendar for all universities, with special consideration for final year students, which will allow them to apply for higher education and employment amid delayed results and degrees.
R Deepansaranraj,
President, DMK students wing, PU

Source: Education Times

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