No space in DU for more students

Expansion plans of most colleges are in limbo as they wait for permission from civic agencies

With the decision to implement the four-year graduation programme in Delhi University, questions are being raised regarding the almost exhausted infrastructure in colleges to accommodate one more batch of students across all streams.

With the Other Backward Classes (OBC) expansion in 2007, DU increased the number of seats by 27 per cent, while it got over Rs 700 crore from the University Grants Commission (UGC) to expand infrastructure, such as more classrooms, laboratories and hostels.

But a majority of colleges are still stuck in getting permissions from civic authorities. Unable to accommodate the increased number of students, many colleges have built temporary structures.

“Infrastructure is a practical problem. We have been mulling over it as there are several colleges that have been given a heritage status. So they cannot be touched. Permission from civic authorities takes time,” says a senior DU officer.

“Then there is talk of converting evening colleges to morning colleges to accommodate the new batch, but again there are some colleges where it is not possible due to permission problems regarding the floor-to-area ratio, which already has been exhausted,” says the officer.

According to the officer, efforts are on to convert as many evening colleges to morning ones. “Satyawati was made a morning college, so was Deshbandhu (evening) college.

We will try to convert as many colleges as we can into morning colleges. Deen Dyal Upadhayay College has already got land in Dwarka. We are trying every possible option to accommodate students,” adds the officer.

Evening to morning colleges

According to teachers, converting evening colleges to morning colleges will be detrimental to students who applied in evening colleges. “There is a reason why evening colleges were made. Students who had to work and study and still wanted to be in a regular system opted for evening colleges. When there is no infrastructure, why is there such a hurry to implement the new system?” says a teacher of a North Campus college.

In many DU colleges, after the OBC expansion, the teacher-student ratio is skewed. “In one class, there are over 200 students and this is across streams. Classes are being taken in corridors, exams are being held in auditoriums, laboratories are overflowing. We don’t have enough space to accommodate existing students and on top of that there will be a new batch,” says the teacher.

Principal of Dyal Singh College (morning) I S Bakshi says permission for a new building and a hostel for the college is still in process for long.

The college authorities will get enough time to work on the infrastructure.
“The infrastructure load will be eased after four years. With the new system implemented, just first-year students will be added and have to be accommodated,” he says. The opinion is shared by other principals too, though a few showed skepticism in the argument.

Students have been complaining about lack of hostel facilities and rising cost of private accommodation. Teachers says with another year added, parents have to shell out more money for fees, which have already seen several rounds of hike.

“There are practical problems that are being brushed under the carpet in the name of innovation and reform. Expanding the infrastructure, which should have been the priority, is something that is not even being taken seriously,” says an Economics teacher at Hindu College.

“Decisions are being forced on us by people who are sitting in their cosy, spacious offices and are so away from ground realities,” says the teacher.

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