Unproctored re-exam will set wrong precedent: Academics

CHENNAI: Conducting a re-exam for four lakh engineering students and changing the proctored online test to an unsupervised online test like in other universities will set a wrong precedent, say academicians. The government directed the university to conduct a re-exam following complaints that only 1.1 lakh of the 2.3 lakh students whose results were declared cleared it. Results of nearly two lakh students were withheld for suspected malpractices.

Higher education minister K Ponmudi on Monday said withholding so many results was itself an irregularity, but professors who were part of the inquiry committee said many students resorted to malpractices. “Around 80% took online test from mobile phones. Without knowing their screen was recorded, they frequently changed screen and shared answers. They formed WhatsApp groups, Telegram groups to share answers. Some even took help of friends and siblings. Some pasted a mobile phone to their laptops to cheat,” said one.

An Anna University professor said the previous government wanted to give all-pass to students with arrears without exams. “The new government wants to give all pass to students by allowing them to write an unsupervised exam.” Former VC of Anna University E Balagurusamy said the online system cannot be termed wrong because many failed. “The proctored online test was an example for all state universities. Results of students suspected to have been involved in malpractices were withheld.” The online test conducted by other universities is not at all an exam, he said. “Students receive question papers on WhatsApp, write exams from home and post the answer scripts. The examination is not monitored.”


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G Shanmugam, former registrar of University of Madras, said conducting a non-proctored online exam led to mass copying and other malpractices. “Asking Anna University to conduct re-exam following methods of other universities is not good.”

Students and colleges, however, welcomed the move. M Sangeetha, a third-year engineering student from Trichy with a CGPA of 8.2 in past three years, failed in five of six papers in the fifth semester. “I was comfortable with descriptive mode, but I could not suddenly adapt to the multiple choice online test,” she said. M A Maluk Mohammed, director and correspondent of MAM College of Engineering and Technology in Trichy, said good results were expected in descriptive type exams. University officials said no results were withheld due to background noise or because students had looked away from the system a few times.

(with inputs from Sambath Kumar in Trichy)

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