The identities of lakhs of students in Delhi University will no longer be unknown to the teachers who correct their answer sheets.
The university has decided to do away with fictitious roll numbers and has instead come up with a policy whereby all answer sheets will have the student’s name, his/her father’s name and the name of the college.
Earlier, students would write these details on a slip attached to the answer sheet. This slip would be removed by the college and only the roll number would be retained.
To ensure further secrecy, the university would assign fictitious roll numbers to 25% of the answer sheets so that no teacher would know which was genuine and which was fake. This was done to ensure fair assessment of answer sheets.
But the decision to do away with secrecy in answer sheets has raised the hackles of many students, teachers and principals alike with many questioning the need for this step.
“I don’t see any need for this new system. We live in a world where caste and religion are real issues. We have seen time and again how highly educated teachers in professional colleges have discriminated against students from the Scheduled Caste and Schedules Tribe categories. Why are we making it easier for them? While other universities are moving towards coding answer sheets to maintain secrecy, DU is taking a step backward,” said Anoop Kumar, national coordinator, Insight Foundation, a non-profit trust that works against caste discrimination in education.
But these are not the only reservations. Many fear that competition between colleges will make assessment unfair.
“Every college wants its students to outperform those from other colleges. If we start revealing identities students from particular colleges may get very low or very high marks, depending on the teachers’ bias. This is not one of the best practices in the university now. We had predicted that this would happen to accommodate the semester system and that is exactly what has happened,” said Sanam Khanna, who teaches English at Kamla Nehru College.
The university, however, is defending its move.
“We will ensure that the evaluation is fair. The papers will be corrected at a centralised location. Each paper will be checked by three teachers. For example, if there are three answers in a sheet, every teacher will correct one question each. This move will not be unfair to anyone,” said DS Jaggi, officer on special duty, examination branch.
But teachers junk this argument.
“What difference does it make if three people are checking a copy? For a student even one mark matters and if he loses it because of the bias of even one teacher, then the policy is flawed,” said a teacher at Shri Ram College of Commerce.