School of Open Learning students demonstrate against 'bias'

 Delhi University’s undergraduate students from School of Open Learning (SOL) held a protest on Monday asking for better facilities.

The students feel the varsity has failed to bring correspondence students into mainstream by denying sufficient number of classes, experienced teachers and a platform to develop cultural and sports skills, etc.

“SOL has around four lakh undergraduate students, almost double the regular students. However, they are not given proper facilities.

The correspondence student community does not comprise only those who pursue studies part-time. Majority of these students wanted to study in the regular colleges but were forced to enroll in the correspondence mode because they were denied admission in regular colleges,” said Sujit Kumar, student.

The protesters stated that high cut-offs and limited seats in regular colleges push them to take up SOL courses.

“There should be regular evening classes for (SOL) students. Majority of students who get admission in SOL are from the financially weaker section, even passing class 12 is difficult for them, that should not take away their right to study further,” said a protester, adding that the poor quality of government schools is a major reason for their poor performance in board exams. 

The protesters complained that because of limited number of study centres and large batch sizes, students find it difficult to understand lectures.

“There is always a shortage of desks and benches, SOL conducts one class in a week and there are plenty of times when the teacher is absent. We are forced to study all by ourselves, with no guidance or even money to take tuitions,” said another protester.

The students are demanding that informal education system like open learning should be changed to regular evening classes. “80 new colleges should be constructed by DU to absorb the increasing number of SOL students. Ministry of human resource development (MHRD) should allocate more funds in the budget,” said Kumar.

A senior official said an immediate meeting will be held with the VC to discuss these issues.

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