The year 2020 has shifted everything on our rectangular screens, from classes to exams, from meetings to dating. When the nation-wide lockdown was imposed in March, the life of the school and college students was suddenly halted. The government and the universities came up with the option of online classes. Initially, it was assumed and believed that only classes will happen online, but later it was learned that exams will also be conducted online.
When the students were already struggling with online classes because 90% of the population didn’t have proper resources. The news of online exams stunned the students. Both teachers and students panicked because they all were new to this system and were muddled about the procedure. Twitter was stormed with tweets to roll back the open book examination, but it went all in vain. The universities went ahead with the examination making students furious about the education system of the country.
Why conducting online exams is not a good idea.
Online exams are not inclusive. In our country, more than 80% of households don’t have a laptop. A lot of households only have one smartphone, and then it becomes difficult for siblings if their exam clashes. It excludes a lot of students and gives them a feeling of being rejected by the education system or not being cared for enough.
Not all areas have a good 4G connection in India. In India, 48% of the population has a strong wi-fi internet connection. It excludes a lot of students and pressurizes them about exams.
From the perspective of knowledge, these exams are not at all effective. Open book examination can be translated to control C+ control V examination. The students didn’t prepare or gain anything from the syllabus because they all had the option of copying it from their text.
Also, all the places and households don’t have 24 hours of electricity connection, and sometimes there can be a long duration cut in electricity making, students nervous and anxious. I experienced this, our area had electricity cut on my exam day, and I had to go to my family friend’s house to appear for the exam.
The online exams took a huge toll on the mental health of students. I went through this and couldn’t sleep for two days straight thinking about all the mishappenings that might happen.
It is a vicious cycle because if a student doesn’t have the proper resource required to give an exam, they panic and then pressurize their parents to provide them with resources. A lot of times children don’t share it with anyone making themselves more vulnerable. Due to the lockdown, there has been a huge financial crunch in the families, that a lot of times parents are not genuinely able to support their children. All of this adds up and makes the lives of students distressed.
Instead of conducting online exams, the university should focus on giving students time to explore themselves and their interests.
They can give them a research assignment/project through which the student learns something and holistically develop their knowledge.