Educationalists skeptical over CU’s move to allow students to write exams from home
Vice-Chancellor Sonali Chakraborty Banerjee had said on Wednesday that the varsity would conduct final semester exams “in a digital mode” from October 1, and students would get to appear for their papers from home.Updated: Sep 03, 2020, 20:08 IST
Educationalists in West Bengal are divided in their opinions on whether the Calcutta University’s move to allow students to write exams from home would help in evaluating their actual performance, with some calling for dynamic question patterns and others pitching for delay in the whole process.
Vice-Chancellor Sonali Chakraborty Banerjee had said on Wednesday that the varsity would conduct final semester exams “in a digital mode” from October 1, and students would get to appear for their papers from home.
Former principal of Presidency University Amal Kumar Mukhopadhay, however, stated that writing a paper from home can be anything but an examination.
“Where was the need for such a hurry? Authorities concerned could have waited a little longer for the COVID-19 situation to improve. Battling coronavirus is more important than writing exams,” Mukhopadhay said on Thursday.
Questions also arose if CU was planning to introduce the ‘open book system’ for its students, following which its vice chancellor clarified that no such announcement has been made, and blamed a section of the media for misconstruing her statement on the issue.
“Open Book exam system is a technical term. I never used it, but a section of the media put words in my mouth. I just said all affiliated colleges will get a question paper on mail, sometime before the scheduled time for commencement of the exam. They can then send the papers to the candidates on mail or WhatsApp them individually,” she told PTI.
Students will have to submit replies over mail or WhatsApp, she said.
“If there is a problem with net connectivity, he/she can write the answers on broad sheets and submit them in a sealed cover to respective colleges within 24 hours. There is no concept of an open book system...
“Also, this 24-hour window does not imply that students get to consult others or refer to books. If a student hasn’t studied the subject all these months, it won’t be possible for him or her to find out the answer of a question and write immediately,” the vice-chancellor emphasised.
Renowned indologist and academician Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri said the varsity should not be giving an entire day to the students, who would be appearing for the exam offline.
He, however, supported the concept of writing papers from home, given the safety concerns.
“Consulting various course materials during the exam is not easy, as perceived commonly. In this present situation, where candidates are being allowed to write papers from home, it is necessary that question patterns be made flexible and dynamic, and not straight jacket ones, he added.
Earlier this week, the West Bengal government asked all state varsities to conduct final semester exams between October 1 and 18 and publish results by October 31.
The Supreme Court has recently held that no state and university can promote students without holding final-year or terminal semester examinations, observing that performance in such exams are a “reflection of competence”.