Preparing answers in advance to have enough time left for uploading answer sheets, spending heavily on broadband connections, going to internet cafes in nearby cities, and depending on friends – Delhi University students from Kashmir have been devising different arrangements to be able to write their online open-book examinations (OBEs) against the backdrop of internet connectivity problems.
Four friends – two from St Stephen’s, one from Kirori Mal College and one from Dyal Singh College – have been staying together in one house since the beginning of the exams. One of the friends had procured a broadband connection for his house in South Kashmir’s Anantnag a few days before the exam – after he failed to upload his answer sheets during the mock test – and invited the three others so they could weather the examinations together.
“We have been working through this exam process together, and have decided to distribute the work among ourselves. Each of us are taking up different chapters for each subject and are preparing generic notes for expected questions and sharing them with each other. Even with the broadband, the DU portal has been opening only on my sister’s phone so each of us has been uploading our answer sheets one by one on that. It takes about 20 minutes per person to complete the uploading process, which is why we’re preparing everything in advance,” he said.
The students are aware this is not the ideal way to write an examination. “It’s not very ethical but we’re being forced into this. The essence of an examination has been done away with. None of us were able to attend online classes since April with the 2G connection,” he said.
Maknoon Wani, a student of Delhi School of Journalism from Anantnag, also had a broadband connection set up at his house a few months ago so he could attend classes. “It took me Rs 10,000 just to get the connection because the provider did not have any reach in my part of the city yet. Despite that, this morning, the connection broke down while I was uploading my sheets, so I had to email them and was late in doing so,” the student said.
Others, however, have not succeeded in getting a connection at all. Among them is a student who travels half an hour to the nearest city to access an internet cafe to write his exam.
Dean Colleges Balaram Pani said that since most of the students from Kashmir appearing in the exams are undergraduates from different colleges, the university is yet to collate data on how many students from the region have attempted their papers and submitted them.