With exams starting in a week, teachers are holding extra classes on Saturdays and Sundays to make up for time lost due to widespread protests by faculty members against the new semester system

It's testing times, not just for Delhi University (DU) students but teachers as well. The first semester examinations begin at the varsity from November 23.

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But students claim almost 60 per cent of the entire syllabus is part of the exams, of which almost 40 per cent is still being taught. While the Sciences are better off as it is the second time that students in this segment are appearing in the semester mode, the Humanities and Commerce departments are playing catch-up.

Prof Nandita Narain, St Stephen's

Struggling to cope with the situation, teachers are holding extra classes on weekends. So classes will be conducted till November 19. The practical exams, having begun November 3, will go on till the 17th of this month, while theory tests will begin from November 23. Interestingly, a good section of teachers across colleges admit that they have been through a challenging time coping up with the leftovers, while a few maintain that they are almost through.

Vishal Sinha, Hindu College student

No time for breaks
"It is a complete nightmare, with absolutely no benefits to reap. I have been taking classes without missing a single day every Sunday apart from the regular classes for the last three months. My students are going through hell," said Nandita Narain, associate professor, Mathematics, at St Stephen's College. Not stopping there, Narain has been taking classes at her place in the evenings after college from 5-8 pm to rush through the Analysis (Mathematics) paper.   

"It is one of the toughest papers and hard for students to understand even in the best of times. My students get sleep just for an hour a day as their minds have been wrecked studying day and night," she added. For instance, Vishal Sinha, an outstation student of first year B Com (H) from Hindu College, had fallen ill of typhoid, which relapsed as he could not get enough rest due to studying for the upcoming examinations.

Blame the newness
Prof Seema M Parihar, Kirorimal College (KMC), department of Geography said, "The stress before exams is due to the newness of the system. The culture of the varsity is like this. First few months are for relaxation, which is very important. The quality of teaching is what that has suffered." At Lady Sri Ram (LSR) college, official spokesperson Kanika Khandelwal said, "It was a huge challenge. We have been taking innumerable extra classes. Also, we had to scrap all the extracurricular activities for the season, which is detrimental to the students all round growth."

However, striking a positive note, principal of Sri Venkateswara College, keeping positive, said, "My teachers are also taking extra classes and they are through with the courses. It is just that the semester mode does not have the flexibility present in the annual mode."

Tough going
The university finally shifted to a complete semester mode from this year after a prolonged stand-off between the administration and teachers over the issue that led to a delay in revision of syllabi from annual to semester mode.