Rani Durgavati University in Jabalpur has a new mantra for its students sitting for examinations – provide concise replies to questions because no additional answer sheets will be provided.
The varsity decided to withdraw the facility of giving additional answer sheets during tests to cut down on expenses and to infuse the art of brevity into students.
The university spends about Rs 75 lakh a year on four million answer sheets and the decision will lead to savings of approximately Rs 15-20 lakh annually, said Dipesh Mishra , the university’s deputy registrar (examination and confidential).
However, the institution is not going to push students against the wall.
The varsity currently provides a main answer sheet of 20 pages and an additional answer sheet of 12 pages for tests in postgraduate and undergraduate courses.
Under the new plan, the answer sheet for undergraduate courses will have 32 pages and those for postgraduate courses 36 pages. Officials believe this is sufficient for students to write their answers.
Authorities settled on 32 pages in the new answer sheet for undergraduate courses by allotting two pages for answers to objective questions, seven pages for short answers and the remaining for long answers.
Mishra said it will take three months for the varsity to replace the old answer sheets with the new ones and to reduce the dependence of students on additional answer sheets.
Rakesh Bajpai, a professor in the physics department, was the first to moot the idea of reducing the number of pages in the answer sheets during his tenure as the controller of examinations in 2014.
“There is a general tendency among students that those who write long answers get more marks, and in this process, irrelevant facts are mentioned,” he said.
Several other reasons prompted Bajpai to propose the idea of reducing the pages in answer sheets. Sometimes, only two to three pages of additional answer sheets were used while the rest were left empty and this was a waste of paper, he said.
Some students drew a wide margin in the main answer sheet to ensure that they could use an additional answer sheets, he added.
Such practices created problems for the university too as additional answer sheets sometimes got detached and went missing during the handling of the answer sheets.
The academic council has given its consent to the varsity administration’s move to discontinue the practice of providing additional answer sheets.
Both student bodies active in the varsity – the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the National Students Union of India (NSUI) – have hailed the decision and described it as student-friendly.
“Now the varsity needs to upload on its website the model answers to enable students to assess their performance,” said ABVP state organisation secretary Upendra Dhakad.
NSUI district president Vijay Rajak added, “The students will have no grievance of scoring fewer marks despite writing long answers after the new system of answer sheet is introduced.”
Rani Durgavati University’s deputy registrar Dipesh Mishra said: “The students will get an opportunity to write concise answers in the given space, akin to the practice followed by the Union Public Service Commission and other recruitment boards.”