The Central University of Haryana will not be holding online/Open Book Examinations for students as the varsity is not fully equipped or trained for the task. This notification came when Delhi University issued guidelines for holding ‘Open Book - Take Home’ examinations for its students of final year of all streams, regular, SOL and NCWEB.
However, the Central University of Haryana has decided to hold examinations keeping the principle of social distancing in mind and changed the pattern of questions to open choice.
As per the circular by DU of the Open Book Exams, the remote examination would be conducted for final year students only for UG and PG programs. Students are supposed to appear in examination from their homes and will download question papers for their respective course from the portal. Students will attempt questions on plain papers as per instructions.
The Vice Chancellor of Central University of Haryana Professor RC Kuhad who headed the UGC panel of Examinations and Academic calendar said that his university is not holding online/Open Book Examination because it is “not fully equipped and trained for the task”.
Speaking to News18.com, he said, “The Open Book Examination (OBE) is a very much designed system that requires awareness for both students and teachers on what it actually is. Without awareness about what OBE is, it may create misconception like— “one does not need to study” or students may feel that they may copy.”
It requires adequate orientation of teachers and students as it does not only check knowledge but also skill and creative and critical thinking of students. “Its purpose is not limited to copying but to test creative and critical understanding of the student,” he added.
Keeping that in mind, the teacher must be familiar with the intent and content of the entire process because there are different sets of requirements for the conduct of OBE, for instance, he explained, “The teacher should know ‘why’ and ‘how’ of designing questions in such a way that the originality of ideas and analytical skills of students are examined.”
OBE requires online support as well and there are two ways to conduct it.
It can be either house examination where questions can be provided in advance or the Take home open-book exams where students are given the question(s) and the students are expected to attempt the answers within a specified period of time.
The Central University of Haryana is holding the examinations keeping the social distancing principle in mind due to Covid-19 outbreak, he further said, “These are regular examinations with changed pattern of question paper. It is Open Choice Examination and not the Open Book Examination because any sudden change in the format may put the students in difficulty in terms of resources available with them.” He added, “They are not tuned to the unconventional pattern of Open Book Examinations. This might put them to great disadvantage, and any system about which students are not familiar may have adverse effect on the future of students.”
To be ready for OBE, an examinee needs to have various academic skills, wide range of study material and the ability to extract the relevant information from varied resources in his opinion.
The additional reason for not using Open Book Examination is that the academia expects the normalcy to be restored by June, he said and, therefore, “we don’t want to deviate much from our conventional system of examination, if situation returns to normal as expected.”
The Kuhad committee formed by University Grants Commission (UGC) had recommended in April 2020 that universities may adopt alternative and simplified modes and methods of examinations to complete the process in shorter period of time. It had said, “Universities may adopt efficient and innovative modes of examinations by reducing the time from three hours to two hours.”
The committee gave freedom to universities to conduct terminal/intermediate semester/year examinations in offline/online mode, as per their ordinances/rules and regulations, scheme of examinations, observing the guidelines of “social distancing” and keeping in view the support system available with them and ensuring fair opportunity to all students, among other suggestions.
“We are not holding online exams because we are not fully equipped but online education is being imparted as a regular feature. Before conducting online exams, we need to develop adequate IT infrastructure,” Kuhad said reiterating that Central University of Haryana will not be holding online examinations.