GU Online Exams: Students Irked with Paper Submission Glitches
“Semester examinations conducted online by the Gauhati University (GU) is really causing anxiety. At the outset, it’s the first time such a process has been adopted. The actual exam duration is two hours. For the morning exams, it’s 9 am to 11 pm. The question paper is supposed to reach each student’s unique ID exactly at 9 am. But it got delayed by 5 minutes. Next, the written answer scripts needs to be uploaded in the PDF format within the stipulated time period of half an hour, i.e., by 11:30 am for the morning shift. But that too failed as the server went down. So the last option that remains is to rush to a nearby college to submit the answer scripts within 12 noon or else it won’t be accepted. Being in a queue for long and submitting the paper has created more panic than even writing the exams,” Tahira Choudhury of Handique Girls’ College narrated her ordeal on appearing for her exams online.
The above is the tale of one student who had finally succeeded in submitting her answer script. But there are a thousand of others who still remain in a bizarre predicament over the exams as they have not been able to submit their final exam answer scripts even after 24 hours.
Gauhati University conducted online examinations for the first two papers of the final semester on 1st October. Earlier, the University’s decision to conduct the exams offline amid the pandemic had miffed the students. After much outrage by the students and repeated requests to the authorities, the University issued new standard operating procedures (SOP) to conduct exams online.
However, the SOP issued did not provide any detailed guidelines for the various processes required for giving the online examinations.
It needs to be mentioned that a large percentage of students of Gauhati University are from other districts of the state. Many rural areas do not have access to proper internet.
When the first two subject papers were conducted online on 1st October, many candidates were not able to upload the answer script within the allotted time of half an hour. Thereafter, the website, axomtest.in, did not accept the uploaded PDF answer sheets.
“I tried to upload the PDF answer sheets but there was an error showing. The university has not clearly mentioned whether the answer sheets needed to be uploaded in 10 different PDF files or in just 1 PDF file. I tried doing it as separate PDFs for each sheet but could do only two. Some of my friends uploaded all sheets in one PDF file and even that didn’t get uploaded,” said Chayan Das, an examinee.
“We tried calling the helpline numbers provided but none got connected. So we finally rushed to the nearby college affiliated to GU to submit the paper, but there was a long queue,” he added.
GU had provided the option of submitting the answer scripts offline in the nearest college affiliated to the university within one hour of the exams if the online uploading process failed.
Moon Talukdar, General Secretary of the Post Graduate Students' Union of GU, speaking to G Plus said, “I have talked to a lot of my friends and colleagues. The students from Guwahati and the nearby areas are privileged enough to have at least a college nearby that is affiliated to GU. But the students from far-off districts had nowhere to go, and by no means would they reach Guwahati in just one hour.”
Further, there have been strict orders not to accept answer sheets of students who had reached a minute late at the submission centres. Added to the confusion was the decision of certain colleges to refuse to accept the answer papers of students from other colleges despite clear orders from the university. In one such instance, Tangla College had issued a written notice stating, “No online examination answer script will be received from tomorrow, the 2nd October, 2020.”
Candidates have complained that the problem in uploading the file is the size. Reportedly, the space allotted is not enough to upload a complete answer script.
Sources have informed that the website, axomtest.in, had not bought enough digital space for all students to upload the answer scripts. As such, the server had crashed. Although the actual reason is yet to be ascertained, this has created a lot of confusion amongst the students. While there is no report of postponement of the exams, the University will reportedly be issuing new guidelines for the other papers that are scheduled from 3rd October onwards.
“We understand the University should have thought about such issues earlier, but the company that is responsible for the website must be sued. Even if new guidelines are now issued, what will be done about the thousands of answer-sheets that could not be submitted on time,” said Moon Talukdar.
“I have even met a student who could not submit her paper and rushed to the university the next day only to be asked by the management to retake the paper the next year as she could not submit on time,” he added.
Notably, the various colleges affiliated to the university had also seen much crowd gathering on 1st October that led to the violation of Covid-19 protocols.
The Controller of Examination, GU could not be contacted to comment on the issue. Until the time of filing this report, no fresh examination guidelines have been issued by Gauhati University.
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