New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday observed that final year students of the Delhi University “are not thoroughly prepared” to participate in the online open book examination (OBE) proposed by the varsity.
“This is a clear indication that the final year students are not thoroughly prepared to participate in the online OBE that the University of Delhi has proposed to conduct,” a division bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad observed after comparing the data relating to the first and second phase of mock tests that were conducted by the varsity.
The data revealed that as against 1,83,376 students who had registered to participate in the OBE in the first phase, 1,86,814 students had registered themselves in the second phase.
However, the total number of the students who had logged in during the first phase were 93,185 whereas only 75,593 had logged in the second phase. The total number of papers attempted by the students in the first phase were 60,181 whereas, in the second phase, the total number of papers attempted were 51,176.
The data also revealed that the total number of papers submitted in the first phase were 33,162 whereas, in the second phase, the total number of papers submitted were 23,693.
After seeing the data, the bench said: “Even for the PWD (person with disability) category students and VH (visually handicapped) students, the data of the second phase of the mock test is no better than that of the first phase, if not worse.”
The observations were made while the bench was hearing a plea filed by Prateek Sharma, a physically disabled student, highlighting the difficulties that will be faced by disabled students in taking the online exam.
The court also granted 10 days time to the varsity to file an affidavit clarifying its position along with the exact date by which the results of the final year students who propose to sit in the online open book examination will be declared.
“It shall also be stated as to how many students had actually logged in to participate in the online OBE and the assessment of the number of students who will take the examination physically at a later date, to be indicated by the University,” the bench said while slating the matter for further hearing on August 17.
Meanwhile, a separate bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh reserved orders on a batch of pleas challenging the DU’s decision to conduct online OBE for final year students.
During the hearing, the DU submitted that the OBE were the best option to check the student’s knowledge in keeping with the UGC’s guidelines while adhering to the restrictions thrown by the global pandemic.
“The idea behind OBE was to prevent students from assembling in one hall as it would be difficult to maintain social distancing during the pandemic situation. There were detailed deliberations,” senior advocate Sachin Dutta, representing the DU, said.
He further told the court that a student does not need very high technology to sit for online OBE as having an email will be sufficient and that connectivity issues will be far more in other modes.
While the hearing was underway, with a lot of students too present, music suddenly started playing in the background, following which Justice Singh said: “I don’t know what they are celebrating.”
Initially, the varsity had announced that the online OBE would commence from July 1, which was later postponed by the varsity to July 10 and again, the institution has now postponed the same till August 15, without giving a specific date as to when it would take place.