An expert committee which was set up by the Karnataka government following the suicide of a BTech student at Bengaluru’s PES University, submitted its recommendations two months ago. Their suggestions included an ‘open-book examination’ and replacing marks with grades to prevent student suicides due to academic pressure.
The expert panel was constituted by the state government after Aditya Prabhu, a 19-year-old BTech student from Bengaluru’s PES University died by suicide after being allegedly caught for using unfair means during a semester examination in July 2023.
Aditya’s parents allege that the student was mentally harassed by the university administration leading to him taking the extreme step.
Speaking to EdexLive, Bangalore University Vice-Chancellor Dr Jayakara SM, who headed the 11-member expert panel, said that adopting the open-book approach would significantly reduce the academic burden on the students.
“Several western universities follow this approach these days and it is proven to reduce the mental stress on students during exams. The recommendation was put forward by one of the panel members and we all discussed and agreed to it. We have submitted the recommendation to the government and now it is up to them in what way it is to be implemented in future,” Dr Shetty said.
Apart from this, the committee also recommended that every higher education institute, both private and state-run, should have a student welfare cell.
Moreover, the experts suggested that the first occurrence of a malpractice during an exam should be handled with a stern oral warning and a meeting with the student’s faculty mentor while repeat offenders can be dealt with more strictly.
“When such incidents of suicide occur, many friends, classmates, teachers and staff are emotionally impacted at multiple levels. Debriefing sessions must be planned by educational institutions for their staff and students periodically. A separate examination ordinance is also required for all the private universities in Karnataka to guide to conduct smooth and fair examinations. Duties and responsibilities of every person engaged in the examination are to be explicitly spelt out,” the report submitted by the panel said, as per The New Indian Express.