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DU In Chaos: Over 400 Fail In Semester Exam, Is The Evaluation Process To Blame?

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By Prerna Grewal:

Semester results have often played with the expectations of many students. Our own predictions are hardly ever in sync with the actual scores. The surprises might be pleasant or otherwise, but the recent error in DU semester results is more of a shock. NDTV reports that at least 410 students of Delhi University colleges have failed in the Sociology examination triggering protests.

DU protest
Picture used for representational purpose only

Many of the 4th and 6th semester students of Delhi University have received an ER (Essential Reappear) in their respective interdisciplinary courses. The range is as diverse as 12 students receiving an ER in Principles of Economics in Ramjas College to an entire class (with the exception of three barely passing) receiving ER in Sociology in Shivaji college. Similar cases have also been reported from colleges like Rajdhani and Kalindi. The consequences of what most likely seems to be an error, could be worse for the final (6th) semester students.

In accordance with the rules of the current semester system of Delhi University, a student can reappear for an exam only in the next alternate semester. For the final semester students, therefore, this implies the loss of one year. Neither can they pursue post-graduation nor apply for a job. And it’s all the more frustrating when the fault isn’t one’s own, but a probable error by the university itself.

This isn’t the only time when students have suffered due to the negligence on part of the University. Many people in the past have lost out on an entire year as the university provides no provision for an immediate or relatively faster chance to reappear. In the case of revaluation too, the problem persists for those who intend to go for post-graduation. The admission process is faster than the arrival of results.

For many, the time after graduation can be stressful and characterized by uncertainty as it’s the time when they strive to seek admission for further studies or look for a job.  It is a phase of transition from three carefree years to another major step in the outside world. If this anxiety is compounded by such errors on the part of the university, it can be very troubling for the students.

In January 2014, the University Express published a post with some examples. Consider the following cases.

• Anvita Mathur, who was then a 2nd year, B.Sc(H) Instrumentation from Shaheed Rajguru College of Applied Sciences said, “In my course, from 45 students, 28 have an essential repeat in analog electronics, and almost all of them have been failed by 1 or 2 marks. Since most of them agreed that their performance did not warrant these marks, they have applied to the university for revaluation”.

• Another course and college where a similar issue occurred was Institute of Home Economics where out of 24, 15 got an essential repeat in two subjects in which they asserted that their examination never went that bad.

• Two students of B.A. Programme in DCAC did not get their result for their Economics paper. “N/A” was mentioned in the marks column for the paper.

• Vrinda Pal, who was then a 2nd year B.Com(Hons.) student from Shivaji College informed how she had been marked ‘fail’ in her corporate law paper from the first year, in which she had actually passed. Further, upon checking with her old marksheet, she realized that there was an error in her marks in Financial Accounting from the 1st semester too.

These cases cited above show how lack of efficiency by the administration can prove to be detrimental for the students. What is disappointing is the constancy of this inefficiency. As a masters student, I have also at times been warned by my professors to always tally the internal marks published online. This shows how constancy in errors has led people to anyway expect some discrepancy.

Over the years, there have also been cases where Professors have had to check answers on topics they are obviously familiar with but haven’t been in touch with recently. In such cases, it is worth considering how justified one’s marks are. This proves to be especially crucial in the case of subjective papers with detailed answers.
Delhi University therefore needs to come up with certain alterations in their evaluation process. First of all, professors should be given only those topics for evaluation which they have been dealing with while teaching and have therefore been in touch. Secondly, there should be a fast track system for final semester students which allows immediate reattempts and revaluation. Finally, measures should be taken to ensure efficiency of the administrative department. Given the current scenario, the discrepancy between anticipation and actuality in case of mark sheets is not a surprise.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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