DU told to conduct exams at centres from Sept 14; huge task, varsity says
The move comes days after the Union home ministry, in an affidavit in the Supreme Court, said colleges could reopen to conduct final-year examinations.Updated: Aug 18, 2020, 09:45 IST
The Delhi High Court on Monday directed Delhi University (DU) to conduct examinations for final-year students in the pen and paper mode from September 14 even as the varsity said “it was too short a time frame and there was immense pressure on the available manpower due to the ongoing open book examinations (OBE)”.
The move comes days after the Union home ministry, in an affidavit in the Supreme Court, said colleges could reopen to conduct final-year examinations.
The university had proposed to hold physical examinations for students who could not take the online exams, and those who want to better their performance in OBE, from September 20. But a bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad said the timeline was “quite unreasonable” and asked DU to advance the date.
The court noted that the university had earlier said it would be able to gauge the number of leftover students who would write the physical exams only after it measured those who participated in the online mode.
“By now, the online examinations have been conducted for an entire week. There should be enough data for the university to analyse the number of students who intend to sit for the examination physically in September,” the court observed.
The court said the “university should expedite conducting physical examinations so that the entire process can be over at the earliest”. It said even though at least two weeks are required after the online examinations are over on August 31, for the university to gear up, physical examinations should start by September 8.
When senior advocate Sachin Datta, appearing for DU, said it would be too short time to complete preparations, the bench changed the date to September 14. It asked DU’s counsel to file an affidavit and indicate the end date of the physical examination, after he expressed his inability to inform the end date immediately to the court.
The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) is not happy with the court’s order. Abha Dev Habib, treasurer, DUTA and assistant professor, Miranda House, said, “This will mean those students who could not appear for OBE because of adverse circumstances will now have to take health risks and appear for exams physically. Blind students, those living in different parts of the country and facing issues of connectivity will have to travel to Delhi, expose themselves to the virus and spend ₹40,000-50,000 on travel and rent. These physical exams will be monitored, while all such important parameters to ensure credibility were relaxed for OBE.”
An official in the DU’s admission branch, who wished not to be named, said, “It’s going to be a huge task to conduct physical exams amid the pandemic. DU has students from across the country and it won’t be possible for many to travel to Delhi since public transport right now is not completely safe. Also, it will be very difficult for the university to complete the evaluation process for the online exams before September 14.”
The court expressed anguish over DU in not providing details of grievances to the redressal committee reconstituted by the Delhi HC itself for fairness and transparency. The bench said if the varsity claims that there has been hardly any complaints, it is all the more necessary that the complaints received were satisfactorily addressed by the grievance officer (1st tier) and placed before the committee (2nd tier).
The bench, while hearing a bunch of pleas by PwD students seeking various facilities for the open book exams, directed the University Grants Commission take steps to issue a fresh advisory to all central universities to defer their demand of seeking provisional certificates for entry to postgraduate courses.
The court directed DU to verify the number of PWD category students who were let out of OBE, and those in the segment who wish to sit for the physical exam even though they may have taken the online mode, for working out modalities of a place of stay and transportation from their present residence to Delhi.
HC was informed that the students had gone back to their home towns due to the lockdown and arrangements would have to be made to bring them back.
The court directed Delhi University to create a separate e-mail ID, where students can e-mail their requests along with details of foreign universities where they have secured provisional admission so that a request letter can be addressed directly by the Delhi University to the institute concerned.
The court sought to know from the varsity the date by which the results will be declared for all streams of final-year courses and posted the matter for further hearing on August 27.