Academic evaluation cannot outweigh lives of students: Law student from DU writes to Chief Justice, Delhi HC

Aastha Khanna, A law student from Law Centre-I, Faculty of Law, DU has written to the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Justice DN Patel, urging him to protect the fundamental and human rights of students in view of the Central Government order permitting the conduction of final year examination in all universities.

“I write this letter to appeal, through this Hon’ble Court, to the humanity and moral sense of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), University Grants Commission (‘UGC’) and other academic bodies adamant to conduct the examination of students when the Coronavirus has taken over the world and totally changed our lives. Although MHRD has suggested an alternative model for conducting examination such as online Open Book Examination (‘OBE’), it has lost sight of the socio-economic barriers which many students not only from remote areas but also from the cavernous depths of metro cities face.”

It is stated that in view of the July 6 order, States which had earlier decided to scrap final term examinations shall now be “forced to change their stand” amid the uncertain future of COVID-19 pandemic in India.

“This is not how an education system should be. The academic evaluation and examination system shall not outweigh the lives of students.”

The letter also points out that the provision to sit for final term examination “through special chance” is also not in the interest of the students as it does not align with the timeline of those who have pre-placement offers or intend to apply for higher education.

Multiple other issues, including the difficulty that will be faced by foreign students, situated in different time-zones, in taking online examination were highlighted. The letter states,

“The premier universities in India also cater to the academic demands of students from across the border, which poses another issue of difference in time-zone for conducting online exams. Students, irrespective of their nationality, should not be troubled and dismayed due to an issue wholly out of their control. An education system should work in the best interest of the students and not against them.“

She has therefore urged Chief Justice Patel to take apposite steps towards securing the fundamental rights of the students.

Md Sahabuddin Mondal

Junior Advocate, Calcutta High Court

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