Indian Campus

Out-of-syllabus questions in DU papers, students cry foul

Students who had opted for ‘Public Policy in India’ have also filed a complaint

Questions on “feminist perspective on the state”, “the country’s forest policy” and “Sarva Siksha Abhiyan” have left third-year students of political science at Delhi University colleges flummoxed, with many complaining that these were not part of the syllabus.

Students who had opted for ‘Public Policy in India’, an optional paper offered in the fifth semester, have filed a complaint to the university over the issue.

The exam was held on Saturday and students had to answer four out of eight questions. Of these, three questions — ‘Discuss the forest policy of India. What are the challenges facing the policy today?’ and ‘Discuss the feminist perspective on state’ and a short note question on “Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan” have caused discomfiture. Moreover, the Hindi translation of the question on feminist perspective was also incorrect, students said.

The exam was for 75 marks and each of the four questions for 18.5 marks. Other questions included analysing the economic liberalisation policy in India since 1991, the model of policy decision-making, etc. Students were also asked to write short notes on the Social Movement, Marxist Theory and Nehruvian vision of public policy.

The complaint has first raised by students of Daulat Ram College and Ramjas College. “We the students of Daulat Ram College (Dept of Political Science) have serious objections to the questions on the paper. This out of syllabus question left us with limited choice,” reads a letter to the university by the students of Daulat Ram College.

Students of Ramjas College have also written to their college department head, Tanvir Aiejaz, to mark them leniently or they will be “at loss”.

“I will be writing to the University department head along with other proofs as well. If two questions are out of the syllabus, student are left with very little choice,” said Aiejaz.

Suranjita Ray, the teacher-in-charge at Daulat Ram College, has already written to the university’s political science head, Navnita C Behera, asking her to look into the matter.

In the letter to Behera, Ray has said: “I request you to instruct the paper setters and the moderation committee to keep the prescribed syllabus in mind. Such a thing impacts the performance of students.” Another teacher said the question paper may have been changed during the moderation process.

After a question paper is prepared, it is sent for moderation. It is then printed, sealed and sent to the examination department. The question papers are prepared by a three-teacher board. A senior teacher of the department is entrusted with the responsibility of moderation.

“Since the semester system came into being, the process of setting question paper and moderation has changed. Maybe because of this, problem keeps arising. Earlier, a committee comprising 8-10 teachers used to prepare three question papers. The moderation committee comprising three-four senior teachers would select any of the three papers or mix and match questions and send. Now it is no longer the case,” said a political science teacher at Kirori Mal College.