Differently-abled students have raised concerns over Delhi University (DU)‘s online, open-book exam process for final-year students. The exams were supposed to commence from August 10, 2020. Differently-abled students said they would not be able to take the test and accused the University of being “exclusionary” and “discriminatory.”
Differently-abled students alleged that the University has still not made scribes available to them. Deepak Gupta, a differently-abled student, said he would not be able to take the exams on Monday and alleged that the University had not made any arrangements for scribes. “We do not have scribes or notes, so how will we take the exams? There are many students like me, who will not be able to write their final exams. The DU is exclusionary and discriminatory, and even the High Court has disappointed us. We have written several e-mails to the DU authorities, but there has been no redressal till now,” he said.
Gupta also alleged that the DU website is not differently able-friendly and they cannot access the notifications uploaded on it through the TalkBack reader application. Another differently-abled student, who did not wish to be named, concurred with Gupta and said they had been left in the lurch with there being no clarity on how the University would conduct pen-and-paper exams. He also said he does not have a scribe or study material and expressed his inability to take the exams. The exams have been postponed several times.
DU has said the students should be given three hours for answering the questions. Additionally, they will be given an hour for scanning and uploading the answer sheets. Thus, the students will have a total of four hours to complete the examination, including for downloading the question papers, scanning and uploading or e-mailing the answer sheets. However, students under the PWD (persons with disability) category will have a total of six hours for downloading the question paper, writing the answers and uploading the answer sheets. The high court had also directed the DU to provide writers to visually-impaired students at the common service centres (CSCs) for the online Open Book Examinations (OBE) for the final-year undergraduate courses if they have opted for one.
The Delhi University Teachers’ Association has been demanding that the exams be scrapped and the students evaluated based on previous performances and on internal assessment. Various teachers and students have also opposed this decision of the University to conduct exams from Monday. A teacher from the English department, who did not wish to be named, said almost 50 per cent of students might not be able to take the exams. “Students who are in villages, where even electricity is a problem may not be able to take the exams.
We have written to the University multiple times, but there has been no resolution.” Another teacher said, “Students have gone back to their villages, and some do not even have study material and internet connectivity. It seems difficult that they will be able to take the exams starting from Monday.” Another teacher, requesting anonymity, said that many students faced difficulties during the mock exams in uploading the answer sheets and the same problem may arise on Monday.