A section of students, including some who are visually impaired and could not take DU’s open book examination, on Friday said they have been left in a lurch after the Supreme Court said states and universities cannot promote students without holding final year exams by September 30.
However, while Jawaharlal Nehru University vice-chancellor Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar welcomed the apex court’s decision, Delhi University officials said equal opportunity will be given to every student as the exams will be held in offline and online mode in the open book format.
The Supreme Court on Friday said states and universities cannot promote students without holding final year exams by September 30.
Upholding the UGC decision to hold final year exams, a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said if any state feels they can’t conduct exams by that date amid the coronavirus pandemic, they must approach the UGC for new dates to hold the exam.
Delhi University is conducting online open book exams for final semester students of postgraduate and undergraduate courses.
Deepak Gupta, a visually impaired student of Delhi University, who could not take the open book exams due to the absence of internet, said the decision has left him in a ‘limbo’.
“We do not have study material, and we are also grappling with issues of transportation. Then there is also a risk of contracting the coronavirus. We have no other option and will somehow have to give exams,” he said.
Dinesh Saini, another visually impaired DU student, from Alwar, Rajasthan, said he will be returning to Delhi on Sunday and will be spending almost triple the amount he would have spent in commutation.
“The coronavirus cases have been increasing and there is a fear that if we contract the virus. We will also end up infecting the elderly members of our family. We have been writing to Delhi University to make study material available to us but there has been no response,” he added.
Saini also added that even though he has managed to arrange a scribe, students have been having issues in arranging scribes since people do not want to step out from their homes owing to the pandemic.
Rajesh Jha, DU Executive Council member, said, “The Supreme Court has taken into consideration the logistical issues that students are facing and now it’s the turn of the UGC to show some sensitivity towards the problems being faced by students in various states like Maharashtra and Bihar. The universities should also take a decision on holding exams by consulting all stakeholders.”
Professor Balaram Pani, Delhi University’s Dean of Colleges, said, “The exams will be held in offline and online mode and will be held in open book format. We are giving equal opportunity to every student. There are 2,000 to 3,000 who will take the exams from September 14 and the exam centres will be made in five to 10 colleges that will be sanitised.”
He said students have been allowed to bring answer sheets from their homes and in order to ensure social distancing, there will be a gap of two benches between students.
Jawaharlal Nehru University vice-chancellor Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar welcomed the apex court’s decision.
“Honourable Supreme Court’s verdict to uphold UGC guidelines in favour of conducting the final year exams, and that students cannot be promoted without the final exams, is most welcome. This is in the best interest of the students’s future,” he added.
The RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad called the decision “farsighted and in the interest of students”.
ABVP believes that accompanying issues like commute, logistics, sanitation and so on merit special attention by the authorities, it said.