Delhi University exam papers are an ‘open secret’ now

Delhi university has been time and again known for its disciplined and strict environment and policies, however the so far confidential process of setting up papers stands on a slippery slope as DU in its urge to vehemently reform the examination system is somewhere down the corner becoming far from secretive thanks to the teachers asking each other to help write and type the examination papers. The whole issue came into picture when unlike the usual a protocol was set that teachers had to submit 2 hard copies and 2 soft copies of question paper. Now the actual problem arose when teachers had to manually type the questions rather than just writing it on a piece of paper and submitting it as such also the worst  nightmare for teachers was when they had to type the questions in Hindi as well now this pertains to the fact that there are question papers in which students are given choice yo write in either of the two languages ie Hindi or English , now the addressing the cat in the room i.e Hindi ,  typing in this very language wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea which became a major problem . So as a result they had to ask either the other departments or so give all the papers to a single person who could do it,” said an assistant professor who teaches political science.

Till the last examination, the normal procedure that was carried out was that teachers could simply write the questions on a paper and hand it over to the exam branch. The officials there would then type and print the papers which was in a way quite a simple way of framing question papers.  But this time, DU wanted to save time and make sure that teachers were responsible for what they submit as questions to avoid any blunders like major grammatical errors or numbing errors.

Recently the department got hold of a teacher who managed to accurately translate and type using the Internet. “As we had no choice, we gave all the work to that teacher. So he ended up typing out nearly 28 sets of question papers. It’s risky, but he knows almost everything about the question papers now,” said the assistant professor, who did not want to be named as the matter is controversial. Now the worst that could happen was that this person admitted himself that he had very well come across a few question papers of economics when they were being typed in Hindi though the people from exam branch couldn’t be contacted, teachers admitted that the secrecy of examinations has gone out of the window.

Abha Dev Habib, who teaches physics at Miranda House, said: “Earlier nobody knew which teachers were selected for setting the papers as they were selected by the committee of courses. But this time, the university strangely asked the departments to form a board of senior-most teachers for the job. Also, earlier the teachers would write the question paper and send them to the exam branch along with rough papers used in a sealed envelope. And nobody ever knew which paper would be distributed to the students.”

Being a physics teacher, she says she very well relates to the problems science departments would have faced in typing the question papers. “I use the Latex software for academic work. Typing scientific equations in Microsoft Word is difficult. And if I seek help from somebody to do it, I will compromise on the secrecy of the question paper. Sadly, that is what is happening,” Habib said.

Also covering an altogether new arena under examination, DU is also planning to do away with the concept of a fictitious roll number and allow students to write their names on the answer sheet under the same motive of reforming the examination system.

Also furthermore Habib said “The University simply wants to make the process quick so that the much-opposed semester system can be accommodated. I think we are seeing the death of a university here,”.

The bone of contention or the question of the hour remains that whether or not the university’s methods or ideas if reform are seemingly practical and beneficial on grassroots level or turn to pave the way for putting down its own guard or making way for scepticism.

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