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Delayed session leads to recession in demand for DU Colleges

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By Sidharth Mishra

A fortnight after it was mentioned in these columns, Delhi University has finally accepted the delay in the start of the academic session. With now classes scheduled to begin from November 2, the session would effectively be behind by three-and-half months.

Defending the delay, the Registrar of Delhi University incredulously blamed the pandemic for the delay. Poor pandemic! every second laggard is now putting blame on it for the delay in their work. While blaming the pandemic, this particular official probably did not care to check the academic session status of some of the other universities.

Even a government-run Guru Gobind Singh Indraprasth University has begun its session nearly a month before Delhi University would be starting. That the academic calendar has been issued in haste is evident from the fact that it has not catered to or synched with the admission process for the first semester students. For them the session would effectively get started only November-end.

This delay, blamed on pandemic by the university administration, has effectively brought down the level of Delhi University on the students’ preference table. The figure for registration for this year's undergraduate admissions stood at 2,17,653. This was 56,000 lower than the number of registrations made in 2021, and is far lower when compared with the 2020 figure of 3,53,717. The registration figure for 2019 of 2,58,388 was also much higher.

The worse was when the simulative list was declared. Of the 2.17 lakh candidates who had registered, nearly 42000 did not pay the processing to enter the last lap of admission process. This effectively brought down the number of students seeking admission to DU to a meagre 1.75 lakh.  

That the registration numbers have dwindled for the reasons of delay is best explained when we compare the preference given at the time of the registration for the Combined University Entrance Test (CUET) and actual registration for admission post the CUET results. Over six lakh students had then preferred DU but when it came to actual registration, its down by about 4.5 lakh.

Not only this, a worse picture would unfold as the admission process would progress. In the past two years it became evident than after the initial enthusiasm, seats in many high-demand courses like B Com (Honours) remained vacant in many colleges.

There are several factors contributing to the loss of interest among students for a seat in the prestigious university. The factors which stand out are rampant absenteeism among the teachers and administrative staff, dilapidated infrastructure and absence of any mechanism to establish accountability. Today we have more number of Professors on DU campus than good teachers who can profess well. 

A case at point is the just announced calendar for academic session 2022-23. It mentions that the classes will begin on November 2 with a four-day break between the first and second semesters. The first semester will start in November 2022 and end in March 2023 and the second semester will be from March to July.

There could not be anything more criminal than this. With no break between the two-semesters, the students and as well as the teachers would be denied the opportunity to start afresh. This would reduce the classroom teaching to sessions in boredom as the monotony of the previous semester would be carried on the next semester. With professors lacking in skills of engagement would only add to the abysmal situation.

Delhi University has been home of several academic luminaries, and it would pertinent to know if they would ever approve of jumping from one semester to another with just four days break in between. 

(The writer is Author and President, Centre for Reforms, Development & Justice)  






By Sidharth Mishra

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