Don't clamour for quota in DU, help State-run varsities

Reservation trouble

Don't clamour for quota in DU, help State-run varsities

The recent proposal by the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi Government to introduce quota for city-based students in Delhi University, has sparked off another round of debate. However this time, not just are the outstation students and faculty of DU protesting, but teachers at State-run varsities like Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha and Ambedkar are doing so too.

They argue that while the Government is busy seeking “a larger share of the pie in a central varsity like DU, the State-run universities are going largely neglected.” Starved of funds, good faculty and research facilities, they are becoming a second-rung facility in the higher education scenario of Delhi, making the beeline for DU even longer.

Both Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU) located in Dwarka and Ambedkar University (AUD) in Kashmere Gate already have 85 per cent reservation for Delhi/NCR-based students but are suffering from various ailments. 

A professor at GGSIPU told Metrolife on the condition of anonymity, “Since this varsity came up in 1998, we have been affiliating colleges at the rate of almost 10 a year. These are mostly colleges functional only on paper, run by small-time businessmen and politicians and affiliated under different kinds of pressure. Today, we have around 110 colleges with us, and unless the Government sets a limit, GGSIPU will crush under its own weight.”

Another problem is of funding. GGSIPU only got a land grant from the Government to start with, but gets no annual funding at all. When Metrolife contacted the acting Vice Chancellor Professor Anup Beniwal, he admitted, “It is a constraint. We have to mobilise funds from our own resources for salaries of the faculty, research work, scholarships etc. We really must get state funding if we have to grow as a university.” 

Getting little or no state-funding, as compared to central varsities like DU, have other negative effects too. Ambedkar University Pro-Vice Chancellor professor Chandan Mukherjee informed us, “Last year, our expenditure was Rs 21.7 crore and we gave an estimated budget of Rs 36 crores to the Delhi Government for 2014. However, we have been sanctioned only Rs 20 crores, lesser than even last year. Ultimately, we end up raising the money through students’ fees which makes our varsity costlier and lesser attractive as compared to DU.”

Another important point here is that of the four Delhi-Government run varsities – namely, GGSIPU, AUD, Delhi Technological University and Indira Gandhi Technical University – only AUD offers Arts courses. There is a pressing need to start more varsities if the demand for more Arts-course teaching is to be fulfilled.

Professor Shurojit Majumdar, who teaches Economics at AUD, said, “Delhi is the richest state in the country with revenue running into lakhs of crores. Accordingly, its spending on higher education should also be good. The existing varsities under the State Government should be provided more money and more varsities should be created. Clamouring after quotas for city-based students in DU is really going the wrong way.”

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