Most varsities do not endorse online exams since just 15% students have laptops; offline mode too presents complications
With the higher education prospects of a large number of students at stake, universities in the State are in a quandary over the conduct of final-year examinations.
While some universities have chalked out tentative schedules to commence examinations in the offline mode on June 28, a final decision rests on various factors including the COVID-19 case graph and the full-scale resumption of KSRTC bus services.
Higher Education Minister R. Bindu will convene a meeting of Vice Chancellors on Wednesday to assess the situation. The government is keeping a close watch on the unfolding pandemic situation to take a call on the examinations.
The universities, which had earlier planned to conduct examinations from Tuesday (June 15), were tasked with evolving alternative plans considering the vagaries of the pandemic. Barring A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technological University, no other university has endorsed the proposal to conduct online examinations.
According to sources, their reluctance was due to the lack of preparedness for holding examinations in the online mode. While large sections of the student community have been able to access online classes through smartphones, only around 15% of students in government and aided arts and science colleges are estimated to own laptops, a study conducted last year had found.
Prospect of malpractice
“Students are likely to find it difficult to take online examinations on their smartphones, let alone finding scanning devices to upload their answer sheets. Moreover, online examinations cannot be used to gauge a student’s knowledge, considering the possibility for rampant malpractice,” an official said.
Persisting with offline examinations is also fraught with various challenges. While universities are expected to identify examination centres outside their jurisdictions, the situation could lead to a clash of dates among universities. The situation could prompt universities to prepare staggered schedules. Each university would require at least 12 days to complete their examinations, considering that many courses at the UG level has six subjects in the final year.
Other proposals, including setting multiple-choice questions and holding viva voce through videoconferencing, are also being actively considered. Nonetheless, the government hopes to publish the results of the final-year examinations by mid-August to enable students to pursue further studies. Many universities, including Central Universities, are soon expected to commence admission for postgraduate courses.
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