Final semester UG, PG exams held in digital mode in West Bengal varsities

Final semester undergraduate and postgraduate examinations were held on digital mode in state universities of West Bengal on Thursday, officials said

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Final semester undergraduate and postgraduate examinations were held on digital mode in state universities of West Bengal on Thursday, officials said.

University authorities said the exams were conducted strictly in two hour duration on digital mode giving no scope to students to consult reference books and texts while writing papers.

The exams for 104 subjects under 152 colleges at the undergraduate level of Calcutta University started at 10 am with candidates answering papers from their home, Vice Chancellor Sonali Chakraborty Banerjee told PTI.

The tests, of two-hour duration, kicked off in three different time slots from 10 am, 12 noon and 2 pm and the students were given the questions 15 minutes before the exams began, she said.

Each candidate was given another half an hour to mail the answers in pdf attachment to the college authorities, she said, adding it was difficult for a candidate to write answers to questions made known to him/her 15 minute before the scheduled time from voluminous reference materials.

At the postgraduate level, examinations for 68 subjects took place similarly as candidates answered papers from home in view of the COVID-19 situation.

"The virtual mode exams were held smoothly and we haven't received any complaint from college authorities," the VC said.

There were unconfirmed reports in a section of media about UG candidates writing papers in classrooms sitting on single desk each with masks after downloading questions from mobile/laptops at Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose College in city, raising eyebrows.

When contacted the CU Vice-Chancellor, however, said the university only arranges question papers and decides course materials for affiliated colleges but the administrative side and modus operandi of holding exams rests with the respective college authorities.

Education minister Partha Chatterjee did not take calls.

Another CU official said, a multiple choice format mode was mostly followed in setting the questions and the time limit was set after due consideration.

There are 1.5 lakh students, comprising both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, in Calcutta University.

In Jadavpur University, exams began in both Arts and Science faculties on a digital mode following all UGC guidelines, Vice-Chancellor Suranjan Das said.

A Jadavpur university professor said, around 1,800 students in the arts stream and 1,200 students in the science faculty wrote their papers in two time slots - 11.30 am to 1.30 pm and 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm.

The exams will continue till October 8, he said.

"There have been stray reports about few students not getting the questions but it was found that they had typed wrong mail ids and once they corrected it, they received the questions soon afterwards," the professor said.

VC of North Bengal University Subiresh Bhattacharya said, UG exams of a two-hour duration were conducted on virtual mode under 50 affiliated colleges.

"While candidates mostly mailed answer sheets with attachment, a few submitted hard copy of their sheets in sealed cover, 30 minutes after the exams were over, to the designated collection centre of the college," he said.

Education Minister Partha Chatterjee had on Tuesday asked power utilities, Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) and West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL), to ensure that there was no disruption of power supply during the exams.

The higher education department had asked universities to conduct final semester exams between October 1 to 18 after UGC consented to the state's proposal in this regard.