Despite some states including Karnataka’s ban on conducting online classes till class V, Delhi Public School Ranchi has taken a step ahead to conduct online test for toddlers. The school issued a series of guidelines for conducting online exams for its students recently in which it is mentioned that students should be in the room alone while sitting for the exam.
With the outbreak of COVID19 in India, schools and colleges have been closed for over three months now. In the wake of the pandemic, schools have been conducting online classes and operating through various online mediums. While students and parents are still getting accustomed to this new normal, Delhi Public School has announced their examination dates and set of rules to be followed while observing the exam.
The issued notice states that online assessments would commence from the 24th of June from 10:00 a.m to 10:40 a.m. A mock test is scheduled before the assessments on the 23rd of June starting at 10:00 a.m.
Online Exams: Strict guidelines for students
The guidelines said that there should be complete silence and no other person should roam around the candidate.And it will similar to the online exams for senior students including logging in, filling candidate’s details, one questions at a time and click on the submit button.
The notice has made parents worried due to its stringent and exclusionary guidelines. Ajay Rai, Chairperson of All Jharkhand Parents Association expressed the dismay of parents following the circular. Rai pointed out the impracticality of online examinations and said that it is just one of the many ways of private schools to extort money from parents.
“We believe that under the existing conditions, when CBSE and ICSE have not issued any such guidelines, conducting online examinations while overlooking the mental and economic status of students and parents is very difficult. Schools have given a deadline to the parents to pay fees. Planning examinations in such times is a way to psychologically pressurize parents to pay the fees.”
“People still lack basic infrastructure for online classes”: Rai
Rai also emphasizes on the overlooking exclusionary behavior of such guidelines. With students from all kinds of backgrounds studying in a school, it is not possible to make a regulation which doesn’t take into consideration the heterogeneity of Indian masses. “Not all students have access to smartphones, laptops and e-gadgets. How many do you think have the advantages of a good broadband connection or internet facilities. This will only pressurize them and disturb them psychologically. Good network facilities are only effective in cities, distant villages and rural areas suffer a lagging technological and network service”.
There is another difficulty that parents face when it comes to an effective communication with school authorities. Rai mentions a phone call he received the day before from a distressed father, a lawyer by profession. “Parents do not openly express their problems and opinions with the school. They fear that it might affect their child eventually as schools would pick on them.”
Many parents said that it is disturbing as well as surprising to know that their kids who are merely in primary classes have to sit for the exam without anyone and lone in a room.
The guidelines issued mandates students to be alone in a room without any kind of disturbance or noise. Rai raised important questions here about daily wage earning families or those living in a 1BHK house. “How is a family living in a single bedroom house supposed to manage that? For someone with a sick family member, or a small child, this is not possible or practical”. “How will a family with a single smartphone and 2-3 wards appearing for examinations or classes manage these iron rules? It is not important that every family has more than one electronic gadget”, he further adds. This will only distort the student-parent psychological health.
Sources from the school said that the questions will be of Multiple Choice yet it will be harder for the students of primary section especially from the lower classes to go for the online examination alone.
May give rise to unfair means
A parent whose kid studies in class four talked about the realities of online classes in India. On the condition of staying anonymous she said, “If the child is left un-monitored during a class or even a test, they end up sleeping or being inattentive to the ongoing session. Students are still not accustomed to regulate themselves during an online session of exam or class, it is risky to leave a class prep or class 1 student unattended for a long time. They do not understand how their home is a classroom they have to pay attention to or appear for an exam. Without giving students more time to adjust with this pandemic, schools are putting too much pressure on students as well as parents.”
However, GYV tried to contact the school authorities but none of them answered the calls.
No government guidelines on the way
An official closely related with the state education ministry stated that the ministry cannot take any action unless they are approached by parents or receive any direct complaints. They also added that there doesn’t seem any possibility of that happening anytime soon.
On the other hand other private schools in the city are also planning to organize online examination. Principal of Firayalal Public School, Neeraj Kumar Singh shared his opinion on conducting online examinations in times of a Pandemic. Sinha stated, “We are coming up with descriptive type questions (application based). Students here would need thorough knowledge of the subject to answer such questions. In other words, even if they took help of a book or the internet, application of mind is required to decide the best possible answer. This would ensure that unfair means are used during examinations. It has already been informed to the parents. The test will be of 40 mins, with 5 min reading time and 5 min uploading time.”