New UGC guidelines add fuel to student protests against OBEs
New Delhi: Students of Delhi University (DU) vigorously started protesting against the new University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines issued on Monday. Twitter was trending with #cancelfinalyearexam and #studentslivesmatter as hundreds of students joined the online protest and made it on top trends of the day.
The new guidelines allowed colleges to conduct online open book examinations (OBE) for final year students among other things.
"The whole mock test was a mockery and showed how incapable authorities are to conduct the online examinations. We had been waiting in hope that the UGC will take the side of the students but we should have known they will only listen to their ministers. I have been in so much stress waiting for the result and this is what they do," said Vasundhra, a final year Hindi Honours student at the university.
Many students said the pandemic will make it difficult for them to travel and access technology or the internet as numerous students hail from remote areas. "There are so many students from Jammu and Kashmir, who are surviving on 2G. During mock tests, it took them hours to upload their answer sheets, how will they manage during the main tests," said a language professor.
As per revised UGC guidelines, universities/institutions may conduct the final year exam by end of September and can opt for pen and paper mode or online mode or can combine both as per the feasibility and suitability.
In a court hearing, the university said that the students who cannot appear for the OBE, including the PwD students, could appear for the examinations in September, subject to conditions normalising. The students who fail to upload their answer scripts on the website can also appear for the examinations in September. The next hearing date has been scheduled for July 9.
However, states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Haryana and Rajasthan have already cancelled all higher education exams without waiting for the UGC guidelines.
On the other hand, former DUSU president Arun Hooda from NSUI has returned his LLB degree to Dean of Examinations Vinay Gupta in protest. "DU completely failed to hold mock test & online exam will be blunder too. We demand promotion for all DU students," he tweeted.
The students also launched multiple petitions online and took to Twitter to raise their objection using hashtag "Student lives matter".
"We, final year students are not testing kits for government. We are not in fear of exams about exam rather there is a fear of community spreading. You can maintain social distancing in exam centre but what about hostels where we have common washrooms, common mess," an online petition signed by over 46,000 students said.
(With inputs from PTI)