Bring back 'special chance' provision, students urge Delhi University

After Delhi University last week allowed re-evaluation of answer sheets, students are now demanding that the varsity also bring back the 'special chance' provision which provides for additional time beyond the stipulated period for the completion of courses.

PTI| Updated: Oct 26, 2014, 12:27 PM IST
Bring back 'special chance' provision, students urge Delhi University

New Delhi: After Delhi University last week allowed re-evaluation of answer sheets, students are now demanding that the varsity also bring back the 'special chance' provision which provides for additional time beyond the stipulated period for the completion of courses.

"The special chance option was of great help to students who could not finish their degrees within the stipulated period due to unavoidable circumstances like illness, socio- economic problems, etc.," said Delhi University Students' Union (DUSU) President Mohit Nagar.

DU had withdrawn this provision in 2012 after holding that it leads to undue pressure on the examination department. The Delhi High Court had also termed the practice illegal.

According to varsity rules, students have to complete an undergraduate degree within a span of maximum six years while a post-graduate degree has to be earned within four years from the date of enrolment.

The 'special chance' provision allowed students who had left their studies in the middle to even years later appear for pending exams, but DU had scrapped the provision two years ago and said that students need to finish their degrees within the stipulated timeframe.

Following the withdrawal of the scheme, a group of 32 students had approached Delhi High Court requesting that they be allowed to avail of it. The court had then directed DU's Academic Council to consider their request.

Following the court direction, DU had brought in the 'special chance' provision for the said students as a 'purely one-time measure' in March, 2013.

DU authorities now say that it is not possible to reintroduce the provision.

"Delhi High Court had observed that giving a special chance was illegal as there was no provision for it in DU's statutes and ordinances," said DU's Media Coordinator and Joint Dean of Students' Welfare, Malay Neerav.

An official in DU's examination department, meanwhile, said, "The court had permitted it (special chance) only for one last chance for the students, which the varsity duly followed. As of now, there is no proposal under consideration to bring back the provision."

According to the DU students' fraternity, the withdrawal of the special chance provision has especially affected the students of the varsity's School of Open Learning (SOL).

"Students enrolled with SOL are not pursuing their courses full-time and hence are obviously engaged with other commitments. Sometimes girls have to leave their degrees midway due to marriage or other reasons. DU should consider such requests," said Nirupama, an SOL student.

Another student, Ruchika Bhalla, said, "It's a student- friendly provision. We agree that in the absence of special chance, students are motivated to make more efforts to complete their courses within the permitted time span.

"But for some students, the circumstances might be unavoidable and the university should consider such cases."

Taking cognisance of a large number of representations received from students in the matter, DU had last week decided to recommence the re-evaluation of answer sheets, which was scrapped last year due to the introduction of the multiple examiner evaluation system.

"We will approach the vice-chancellor in the coming week and raise the demand for the special chance," the DUSU president said.