University of Delhi: exploding to the brim
With thresholds reaching 100% for several programs and exceeding 99% in more than 90 programs, the story at Delhi University Colleges is one of an ever-increasing number of applicants receiving high marks from their school boards vying for a limited number of seats.
The question, then, is whether the University of Delhi – the most sought after undergraduate university in the country – can increase its ability to reduce competition and, therefore, pressure on applicants?
Certainly, the university seats have increased significantly since 2008. At that time, in order to be able to implement the OBC reservation, DU had increased its seats by 54%. But as the infrastructure has remained largely the same, this has led, over the past decade, to many colleges operating on makeshift arrangements such as the use of porta-cabins and bamboo rooms as classrooms. classroom and partitions in the rooms to accommodate several classes.
While colleges were already packed, seats fell from 56,000 by 10% in 2019 and 15% in 2020 to account for the new EWS reservation of 10%. As a result, this year approximately 70,000 undergraduate places are open for admissions.
Former DU vice-chancellor Deepak Pental, under whose tenure the OBC’s expansion began, said increasing seats further was not an option.
“When the OBC reservation took place the number of seats was increased, but I think there is a limit to how much you can increase the seats. I do not know what are the ratios abroad in the best universities, but here this limit seems to have been reached. In DU, even evening colleges have been converted to full-time day colleges without adequate infrastructure. Adding more seats is not a good idea, as the size of the classroom is to the brim. They were made to accommodate a certain number of students; how many more can you insert? ” he said.
Pental said the focus should be on new universities such as Ambedkar University in Delhi. “Maybe they can create a south campus and increase the number of places since this is a new university,” he said.
His successor, former VC Dinesh Singh, agreed that the focus should be on other “good universities”. He said, however, that the main problem was the quality of educational institutes in the country.
“DU is not a black hole where you can put as many seats as you want. There is a much deeper problem at work. If there were good institutions in other parts of the country, why would everyone want to study at Delhi University? Things will change if we put a little more effort in this direction, ”he said.
“All the colleges are operating at full capacity. To increase the number of places, you need more teachers, you need better infrastructure. An average teacher at DU University is comparable to an average teacher at University of Bombay or University of Calcutta. So why create this mad race for DU? You cannot have all of India study at DU university, ”he said.
Singh said other good institutes in Delhi were not considered – like Ambedkar University in Delhi and some private universities, “There is a herd mentality when it comes to DU… I think and pray for that the national education policy, if implemented correctly with patience and determination, can help to make the right decisions, ”he said.
Delhi University Teachers Association Treasurer Abha Dev Habib said if seats at existing colleges cannot be increased, more colleges could have been opened.
“We need laboratories accordingly if the number of students increases… More colleges can open under DU, but we have seen that despite the promises made to this effect, the Delhi government has still not opened any. new colleges. The central government either. And the NEP is now talking about autonomous colleges and disaffiliation from the university, so that’s not a possibility either, ”she said.
On the issue of increasing the number of colleges, Aryabhatta College Director Manoj Sinha, who has been with Delhi University for three decades, said there have been two major growth phases of the university.
“The first period was in the 1960s, when Vijay Kumar Malhotra was the head of the executive council of the Delhi metropolitan council. Several colleges such as Rajdhani College, Bhagat Singh College, and Shyama Prasad Mukherji College sprang up around this time. The second major period of expansion took place in the 1990s under the government of Sahib Singh Verma. The Delhi government at the time planned a massive expansion based on ground-level demands in Delhi, and several colleges in more remote parts of Delhi, such as Bhagini Nivedita College, Aditi Mahavidyala, Maharaja Agrasen College and the Bhim Rao Ambedkar College were created, ”he said.
He said that since then, no “substantial expansion” in the number of institutes at the university has taken place, except that during Dinesh Singh’s tenure as vice-chancellor, some evening colleges were converted into independent colleges with the aim of increasing capacity, which also led to the conversion of Ram Lal College (Evening) to Aryabhatta College.
“There has been a lack of funding from the Center and the Delhi government to develop in this way, and in fact, the Delhi government has tended to withdraw institutes from the University. But there shouldn’t be so much pressure on the AU to develop when the result is that the quality is compromised. Alternative options must be developed, other institutes must be well managed in their areas of expertise, ”he said.
Even with a record 100 percent vying for university places this year, colleges have yet to feel the full impact of the latest phase of expansion that took place in 2020.
“The capacity of the university has almost doubled in just over 10 years. Even now, maybe some expansion can be done, but not huge. But no expansion can be done in a year. For this, ideally, the central government should express an intention to expand and invite proposals on how to go about it from the colleges, giving them a few months to work it out and then it can be done on 2- 3 years. This cannot be done because the extension of the EWS reservation has been done, forced without increasing the infrastructure. We haven’t even felt the full impact of this expansion since it took place last year and students haven’t gone to their colleges because of the pandemic, ”said Naveen Gaur, teacher at Dyal. Singh College and member of the university’s academic council. .