First day of Semester II Examinations at DU
Today was the first day of the Semester II Examination. An administrative lapse created panic across the colleges when the students and teachers realized, as soon as the exam started at 9 am, that a wrong paper had reached centers instead of the Language Credit Course – English Language. This has affected over 15,000 students as all students of B.A. Honours other than those doing English Honours were supposed to write this exam. This was the exam to be taken by students of B.A. (Honours) Economics, History, Geography, Sociology, Political Sciences, Mathematics, Philosophy, Psychology etc. This was one of the largest examinations to be conducted.
The correct question paper (hand written) was finally faxed to the colleges and the examination started in various colleges at different times. It was left to the colleges to photocopy the faxed question paper and to start the examination. In some colleges like Miranda House and DCAC the examination could start around 10:30 am, in KMC it could start as late as 10:50 am; in some other colleges like SRCC it started at 11:00 am; in IP, SGTB Khalsa College around 11:20 or so and in Ramjas College it could only start in some rooms at 12:15 pm. In one college, the questions had to be written on the board! The badly hand written paper was hardly readable and teachers called each other to interpret it, to comprehend the lines/sentences which were hardly visible (please see page 3 of question paper).
DTF takes serious note of the administrative lapse which was manifest. Such a goof up has never happened in DU before. When the mistake was identified in the colleges as early as 9 am, not a single University Official was available either to give clarification or for course correction. Officials’ telephones were switched off and they did not give colleges or examinees any guidance on the matter. When no response came from the University, teachers from colleges like Hans Raj and KMC rushed in person to the exam branch and had to force their entry into the examination office so that the question papers could be procured. To their utter shock, these teachers were not only stopped from entering University offices but Officials at the exam branch refused to take cognizance of the matter at all. It was only after repeated insistence and shouting that some of the exam branch Officials excavated the hand written draft of the said question paper and handed one copy to each college representative. The teachers and members of the colleges were asked to photocopy and conduct the exam thereafter. So the much vaunted confidentiality and secrecy associated with any credible examination system had not only been compromised in the process but has also been violated with rare impunity. To make matters worse, the University did not feel it necessary to inform the colleges about such a criminal lapse on its part affecting the life of thousands of students. Instead, it tried to wash its hands off the matter by not responding to phone calls and then refusing to accept this mistake. It did not have the courtesy to send the correct question papers on its own. It was only when the chaos became palpable across the University and the teachers had to take initiative that the University started faxing the question paper after 10 am, by which precious time had been lost, not to mention the disturbance of the state of mind of the students.
This administrative lapse, which started with sending wrong question papers, was compounded by the decision to run the examination under any circumstances. This is a reflection of the mindset with which the administration is working today – credibility has taken a back seat and it is important to push their half-baked ideas to a conclusion. The decision to fax question papers, relying on the colleges to photocopy them, introduced arbitrariness, chaos and total lack of secrecy.
This was not even the only such error today. Incorrect question papers were also dispatched for the Language Credit Course for B.A. Sanskrit, and an examination of IInd semester of the Diploma in Forensic Sciences offered by STGB Khalsa College had to be cancelled as the question papers did not reach the college at all.
These are not isolated episodes. The University authorities have been repeatedly guilty of violating the credibility of the university examination system as is evident in the inflation of marks, complete mayhem in the practical marks in the sciences, arbitrary reduction and overnight restoration of the examination marks, a completely cavalier way of putting up the date sheet which underwent multiple changes owing to clash with entrance examinations and of course not giving preparatory time to the students in semester system, and various omission and commissions. These incidences are indicative of a lack of will on the part of the DU administration to look at the mess created by the semester system. It also shows that there is no consideration for academic standards and welfare of the students.
Despite so many violations the Vice Chancellor and other officials have neither taken responsibility for these academic and institutional violations nor have they taken any steps towards a course correction. DTF demands that heads should roll and the guilty officials must be penalized for such irresponsible execution of duties which has adversely impacted the credibility of the University and brought disgrace.