One of the oldest and prestigious universities with over 800 year history, the world renowned Cambridge University is planning to scrap handwritten examinations. The decision is considered to be very significant in the digital era with the students’ writing becoming increasingly illegible as they have become increasingly reliant on laptops for taking notes during lectures. Besides, the over reliant on laptops have resulted in drastic deterioration of students’ handwriting.
Until a decade back students used to routinely write by hand several hours a day. But, now in the digital era the students’ handwriting has become a “lost art”. The current generation of students virtually write nothing by hand except exams. As pilot project Cambridge University has launched a consultation on the topic as part of its “digital education strategy”, in the History and Classics faculties earlier this year. As a result, many faculty members expressed concern about the declining handwriting problem which has over the years resulted in a difficult situation for both the students and the examiners as it is harder and harder to read what they written. Cambridge University found that an increasing number of scripts have to be transcribed centrally, meaning that students with illegible writing are forced to come back to their college during the summer holidays to read their answers aloud in the presence of two university administrators.
While many students welcome the initiative that the University is considering reforms to its examination practises, not everybody seems to be happy with such a move. Some academicians and graphologists have voiced fears that the “handwritten word (could) become a matter of nostalgia and urged the university to make sure that students continue to write by hand, particularly in examinations. They claim that it is vital that the students continue to write by hand