On 10th December Jamia released a notice affirming that the mode of examination for its students will be Proctored Online Exams. This mode of examination is highly discriminatory and the article intends to highlight the points.
1. The university has approved of only Windows systems for the examinations and has not even given a single thought to students who do not have a laptop, hence generalizing their diverse bed of students that the university feels proud about, it also excludes other operating systems that many students use. The point also mentions that a stable internet connection is required, which would essentially disqualify students from underprivileged areas and regions that are by the orders of the elected government restricted to only unstable 2G connection i.e. Kashmir.
2. Point number five mentions how students are encouraged to be present/logged in 30 minutes prior to examination start time “to avoid any last minute hurry and also ensure the complete system check & camera verification process beforehand”, with a note at the end of it stating that the amount by which a student might be late in logging in will be deducted from the total time. This point is unfair for those who because of unstable interconnection, power cuts (which happen often in states and regions such as Kashmir, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and UP) and or other occurrences that are outside of their control, would not be able to secure their login in time.
3. Point number six lays out the basis on which termination of examination for students might take place, and the power that the invigilators hold for the same. This is a gross underestimation of the varying factors that go into an examination. For those who aren’t privileged enough by the government to have a 4G connection, the disruption can take any side; termination on suspicion of cheating, failure to connect to the proctor, and/or use of this curse as a method to sneak in some ‘help’. From mobile phones, chits, help from family, screen recorders, voluntary or involuntary internet disruptions, the list is limitless because the exams’ standard of vigilance by design is very limited, thus making it uneasy to trust the system. It’s also evident that the administration hasn’t considered the quirks of every exam for instance the question, “may I go to the toilet?”, whereas before the bag full of notes was in the corner of the room under the eye of the invigilator, now it is located in every corner except in front of the proctor’s eye. If they are to not allow toilet breaks, that could very well be considered as human cruelty, even entrance exams such as JEE, NEET and even Jamia’s own entrance exams allow for it. Presupposing that the current human morals are objective then in any case that has to be allowed and if it isn’t objective, then cheating isn’t cheating but just a demonstration that the student is more efficient at accumulating information at a given moment. POE mode can in no way guarantee fairness in exams.
4. Point number eleven is the epitome of unfairness and discriminatory generalization by the Jamia administration. Students can in no way be upfront held for the total responsibility of an internet disruption because that is handled by the internet service provider not the individual. The fact that every sort of lapse in connection and disturbance will be lashed at the face of the student is not only downright ridiculous but shows the miniscule thought that was given to the decision of Proctored Online Exams. Data top ups and “back up(s)” are mentioned as if everyone is privileged enough to be able to afford such things.
5. The second point of the document mentions something that is totally contradictory to a latter point (point number 7) that is supposed to withhold the integrity of the exams. The point mentions that the students will be allowed to appear for exams at a place that is convenient to them. Point number seven however mentions how students are required to have a separate room, with no consideration of the students who live in a joint family, or have multiple people in a single room. They will be disturbed constantly during exams, given many have young siblings and children, again providing advantage to some students while cutting the legs of others.
The note at the end of the notice by Jamia stating “NOTE: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE GOOD INTERNET CONNECTION”, just puts salt on the wounds of the students. The decision to have Proctored Online Exams gives an unfair advantage to some students over others. The already ramping anxiety of a student during exams will be exponentially heightened by that he/she can be terminated by things that are outside of his/her control, hence also is damaging to their mental health. OBE mode of examinations are the only viable route to take in such trying times of COVID- 19 pandemic. If in any case, POE mode still goes on as intended by the administration that will showcase nothing but the ignorance of the university in matters relating to the factors that would affect the lives of its students. No one will ever be sure about the results because the competitive pool provided by the university is not level/fair in case of Proctored Online Exam, in any shape or form.
Raafat Gilani is a student pursuing English Literature from Jamia Millia Islamia.
Edited by: Nuzhat Khan
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.