Hyderabad: Students and professors of Osmania University are extremely critical of the system of online evaluation of examinations introduced last year.
From checking answer scripts physically, evaluators have to peer at scanned copies on a computer monitor. Students said this system is unfair to them since professors simply cannot do justice to their answer scripts in this way. They also bring up anecdotal evidence to suggest that the marks of several students have been affected because of faulty evaluation.
The professors, who have first hand knowledge of the system, agree with this assessment. A professor, under the condition of anonymity, told Deccan Chronicle that there are many flaws in the system. One of the biggest problems is the sheer inconvenience of using computer screens.
“The scripts have to be accessed on a computer screen and it is just not intuitive. Many professors have complained of physical discomfort due to long hours before the computer,” he said.
Also, another issue is that pages cannot be turned until a prescribed amount of time has passed.“While we understand that this has been done to prevent evaluators from skipping pages, we have observed that there is a lot of time wastage. Many a time, students give in black 32-page answer booklets. We have to waste over an hour on these, simply skimming through them,” he said.
Another professor said, the biggest problem is the way that evaluators are being chosen. “Anyone and everyone can evaluate answer scripts of undergraduate students. There is very little in the way of screening. I have met several evaluators — many of them from private colleges — who do not have any knowledge of the subjects they are supposed to evaluate,” he said. He added that there have been occasions when a lecturer of one subject was asked to evaluate scripts of another subject.
It may be noted that the responsibility of evaluating undergraduate scripts is given mostly to lecturers from private colleges affiliated to the university. The evaluation of post graduate scripts, on the other hand, is mostly done by university professors.
Students feel particularly wronged by the system.
A third-year student from MVSR Engineering College blames the online system for his backlogs. “I have always been good at academics. In my first and second semester, I got a CGPA more than 8. But in my third semester, I got two backlogs,” he said.
Mr Sharan Raichur, of the Engineering Students Joint Action Committee, said, “It is true. A lot of students have had similar complaints. Even professors have complained to me about the system.”
Asked about the issues, Mr Sriram Venkatesh, controller of examinations at the university, admitted that undergraduate scripts could not be evaluated by university professors since they were very few in number. But how are evaluators from outside screened?
The principals of affiliated colleges send the university lists of lecturers who they think are eligible to evaluate scripts. However, the principals themselves ratify these names and the university only sifts through them on the basis of experience requirements. It does seem there is little to prevent underqualified people evaluating scripts.
Mr Venkatesh said there were a few restrictions in place for outside evaluators. “We don’t allow them to access scripts from home. They have to come to the university campus or one of our centres in the city to access our 1,200 computers. Only evaluators from university can access it at home on their own systems,” he said.
However, Mr Venkatesh said whatever the issues, they were only minor and would be ironed out soon.
“Today, over 25 lakh UG and PG scripts are evaluated on this system. There are bound to be minor issues, but by and large it has been a great success. The Intermediate and SSC have shown interest in adapting similar systems. The whole world is going digital and so should we,” he said....