DU's name game puts students off

Revealing Identities

In a decision bound to receive flak, Delhi University (DU) has made it mandatory for students to write their name, roll numbers, father’s name and college details on their answer sheets!

The decision, apparently taken to save time, is also against the long-standing system of maintaining transparency through secrecy.

Until now, students would write their names and other details on a sheet attached to their answer sheets. This sheet would be detached before the answer sheets went for evaluation.  This sheet would again be attached after evaluation. This process demanded more time and resources but ensured secrecy and hence, transparency.

The new change has re­ce­ived criticism from varsity’s lecturers, who think that it might lead to biases and a se­n­se of mistrust amongst st­u­dents. Nandini Datta, associate professor, Economics at Miranda House feels biases will happen with student details being made public.

“Pre-conceived notions in the minds of teachers about particular colleges might lead to biases. That can be against both – colleges which do not belong to so-called elitist groups and the reputed ones too. It will lead to a system totally against students.

Probabilities of uncertainties will be very high,” she says.

Seconding her is Sanam Khanna, who teaches English at Kamla Nehru College. She says students’ detail on answer sheets is good neither for the students nor teachers.

“I may have a bias for a particular college or certain expectation from it. The new system is completely unnecessary and will only put unnecessary pressure on the stude­n­ts. It is not good for examiners either. There are high chances of teachers being pressuri­s­ed,” she says.

According to teachers, the new change is brought in to accommodate the much-protested semester system. Professor Abha Dev Habib says it is the efficiency of semester system.

“Earlier, there was a system of checks and balances. A lot of time went into maintaining secrecy on answer sheets. Now with the introduction of semester system, exams are held twice a year, which means even more time is required for checking the papers. So, to retain the semester system, these changes are being brought in without considering feasibilities,” she says.

But when the university could not guarantee transparency in OBC admissions and in implementation of UGCs guidelines of 2006 pertaining to reservation of teachers’ posts, can it ensure transparency in any open system?” she questions.

However, the university says it will ensure a transparent and bias free evaluation as one answer sheet will be checked by three teachers. But even then students are not assured of a favouritism-free evaluation. Naveen V of Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) says, “I can’t say that it will lead to bias but the cha­n­ces for bias are definitely high. Why is the name and father’s name necessary anyway?”

In an exception to common viewpoint, some teachers also believe that bias is unlikely as at the time of checking, they are completely neutral.

Nisha Tyagi, a professor says, “The good thing is one answer sheet will be checked by three teachers. So that lessens chances of favou­rit­i­sm. Besides, teachers are bias-free atleast at that particular time.” You think so?

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