Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

The protest by the students of a private university demanding an Online Examination and condemning in-presence exams, responding to the popular demand, HEC has allowed universities to conduct online exams. Even earlier to HEC decision, some of the private varsities had announced for conducting online exams. Getting straight to the point, it has become the hallmark of our education system, they take a stand without a definite plan. The institutions that announce online examination, are the examination units of these varsities prepared? Do they have the required resources, infrastructure, equipment, and technical expertise? One cannot discard an apparent risk of malpractices during online exams.  Quality control is yet another challenge that needs to be addressed to be reliable. When exam developers are unable to produce quality questions for manual paper and pencil tests and which has plunged the students into rote memorization, then how can we expecting them to create a quality task that evaluates higher-order thinking on media which they have not mastered as yet. If it is the same as usual, students are to reproduce the content from course books or notes, it is easier for students to refer to the crammed content, copy/paste or ask google for the right responses. From designing and implementation of exam papers, our examination units need to be veterans in their field.

Although, amid the pandemic, online examinations are very convenient, fast and time and cost-efficient but, believing every student has a computer and understands computer applications and software for appearing online exams are false expectations. Similarly, the electricity supply in our the country is unreliable which can disrupt anytime, same is the case with the internet connectivity.

We shut all educational institutes amid to Covid-19 with no plan in hand and shift the whole teaching and learning on WhatsApp and Zoom. Which means we didn’t give students exposure to the online assessment system. Students require extensive practice before appearing in main exams, likewise examination units. The online examination does not only require subject-based knowledge rather than mastery of the technology on the examination units and students’ part is also a must. Therefore, institutions should be well-informed and well-prepared before changing their policy.

By Shagufta Shazadi

The writer is Editor zeroperiod and Specialist to Educational Assessment Monitoring & Evaluation. She can be reached at

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