The upcoming semester exams are to be held from June 28 with no mechanism to curb mass cheating. (Representational photo)
The upcoming semester exams are to be held from June 28 with no mechanism to curb mass cheating. (Representational photo)

PU should have explored other options to invigilate online exams, say experts

To prevent use of unfair means by students during examination, the varsity was considering image proctoring, but could not finalise the same
By Dar Ovais, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON JUN 24, 2021 12:13 AM IST

For the third time since last year, Panjab University (PU) has decided to conduct the semester exams in online mode without any kind of invigilation.

However, experts say that the varsity could have explored other options even if it had to conduct the exams online. The upcoming semester exams are to be held from June 28 with no mechanism to curb mass cheating. The varsity was considering using image proctoring this time but could not finalise the same.

Before their term ended on December 31, the syndicate members of the university had also urged vice-chancellor Raj Kumar that semester exams should be held offline.

PU’s former controller of exams, Parvinder Singh, who is vice-chancellor of a private university, said, “A few models could have been explored by the university. They could have changed the question paper structure and introduced objectivity to minimise the use of unfair means.”

“Proctoring could have been an option and the university should have spent on it or they could have outsourced the exams,” he said.

A former senator said, “The open book exam is certainly a better option. That gives better results. We can have multiple sets of question papers as well, where students of the same college have to solve different papers.”

What other universities are doing

An official at Kurukshetra University said they have been conducting the semester exams in online mode since last year with proctoring. “A group of students is assigned to a teacher for supervision during the exams through Google Meet,” he said.

Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Amritsar, has conducted odd semester exams in offline mode and they are yet to take a final call on how to conduct the even semester exams.

Like Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia, PU university could have held an open-book exam in the absence of real-time surveillance. It would mean students have the option of consulting their study material while attempting the paper. But the questions would be framed in a manner that would require them to put their analytical skills to use. This would require them to prepare well beforehand to be able to finish the exam in time.

PU should prepare for future, says former V-C

Former PU vice-chancellor Arun Kumar Grover said, “At present, the university can do very little regarding this, but they should prepare for the future, be it online teaching, exams or research.”

Controller of examinations Jagat Bhushan said, “We were planning to conduct exams offline, but due to the second Covid wave, online mode was chosen. We tried to introduce proctoring in exams, but due to procedural limitations that was not finalised. We are an affiliating university, and we have students in far-flung areas with poor internet connectivity and international students facing travelling restrictions. We had to consider everything before taking a decision.”

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