Recently, when second-year history students of Delhi University went to repeat their first-year papers, they were in for a shock: at some colleges, they were handed question papers based on this year's revised syllabus.
Similarly, some first-year students were provided question papers based on last year's syllabus. It is this batch of papers that was actually meant for the repeating students.
More than 160 students were subjected to this mix-up, at five colleges at least.
Also Read: 5000 DU teachers at risk of job loss: DUTA
The switch involved two papers taught in the first semester of BA (Honours) - 'History of India-1' and 'Social Formations and Cultural Patterns of the Ancient World'.
The papers have the same title under both the old and new syllabi, although the codes in the question papers were different.
As a result, the question papers covered a few topics that the students hadn't been taught. They had a fair number of questions to choose from and answer but the mix-up severely curtailed their choice.
Though the mix-up happened at the college level, teachers Catch spoke with said the confusion could be attributed to the continuously changing syllabi.
"The syllabi have changed three times in the last three years. Besides, there are too many exams now, thanks to the semester system. This mix-up was at the college level, but the overall system itself has become very confusing for students and teachers both," said an examiner from Delhi University, who did not want to be named.
"Even last year, three different syllabi were being followed for the three years of BA. Third-year students had the FYUP (four-year undergraduate programme) syllabus, second-year students had the TYUP (three-year undergraduate programme) syllabus, and the first-year had the CBCS (choice-based credit system) syllabus."
The last batch enrolled under the now-scrapped FYUP graduated last year.
So this year, third-year students have the TYUP syllabus, second-year students have the CBCS syllabus while the first-year students have the "revised" CBCS syllabus.
It was the revised first-year CBCS syllabus that led to confusion during the recent exam.
Another examiner said the teachers were aware of the mix-up and the head examiner had already asked for a list of students who got the wrong question papers, though this was not to conduct a re-exam but because the computer would reject the papers if the course code and the paper code did not match.
The students have not protested and there is no redressal mechanism they can immediately turn to. However, teachers said because of the mistake, they had been asked to be "generous" with the marks.
Satish Kumar, Officer on Special Duty (Examinations), DU, said, "The unique paper code is mentioned on all question papers. It is the responsibility of the college and the students themselves to ensure they are writing the correct papers. The students are all adults."