Online entrance examination is most efficient: JNU

Defending its decision to hold the entrance examinations online, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) termed it as the ‘most efficient’. According to the news agency, IANS, the reaction comes at a time the university was facing criticism from its students’ union, dismissing their grouse as ‘unsubstantiated.’

“The JNU administration deplores the baseless allegations levelled against the proposed computer-based test by the newly-elected JNUSU. It completely refutes the unsubstantiated claims by the JNUSU on the computer-based entrance exam and urges everyone to introspect on the benefits of such a system,” the administration said in a statement. What is more, the university stated the online mode as the “most efficient process of objective evaluation”, citing its adoption at institutions like the Delhi University, Pondicherry University, AIIMS and the IITs. Yesterday, the newly-elected JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) had termed the change in the mode of entrance exam from descriptive to an online objective type a “scam” and as one “unilaterally imposed by the Vice-Chancellor”.

The JNU said that the deans consulted, was on the question of change and the decision was passed in the Academic Council of the university and added that it is in the process of hiring a private vendor for managing the centres where the exams will be conducted.  A 12-member committee was formed in March this year to deliberate on the change in the mode of examination.

As early as July this year, the JNU had adopted multiple-choice admission tests. When the JNU is defending its decision citing DU and PU and others, the experience of these institutions in implementing an online mode of examination is mixed. For instance, the DU, which opted multiple choice questions for entrance examinations into all PG programs in 2016, there was dissatisfaction, more particularly among teachers. The JNU panel is defending that the merit in multiple choice questions for two reasons. Firstly, this guarantees the objectivity in marking and secondly when the number of candidates is humongous; this pattern will relieve teachers of the responsibility of checking, thus ruling out the space for bias. This way, the JNU panel feels that they can be safe from brickbats. As it is, the JNU is holding entrance examinations for its 169 programs, with the lion’s share in PG in 72 centres across 54 cities. Earlier, the University, to conduct examinations in these cities, it had to dispatch its staff to all of these centres and the faculty members had to evaluate the answer sheets. The issue, the panel identified was that the ultimate responsibility of preserving the sanctity of the evaluation process and protect the answer sheets that undergo a subjective evaluation was a big challenge. The panel members further argued that the reform and outsourcing the conduct of the examination to a third party (outsourcing) might as well minimise working hour loses to JNU, besides being eco-friendly.

Mixed Response

Regarding the online examination, the reaction elicited is mixed. For instance, if you take DU, it is facing a barrage of issues this year. They were able to issue the admit cards only two days before the examination, which was held on a Sunday and to the student’s utter dismay, that the examination centres were far off from their residences.
Image Source: JNU website

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