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'DU innovations sacrificed at quota altar'

DU VC Deepak Pental says innovative proposals such as the 3 +1 scheme and dual degree have been put on hold indefinitely. Swaha Sahoo reports.

delhi Updated: Apr 25, 2008 01:12 IST
Swaha Sahoo

The resource crunch triggered off by the implementation of the OBC quota has claimed its first victim. Delhi University Vice Chancellor Deepak Pental says innovative proposals such as the 3 +1 scheme and dual degree have been put on hold indefinitely.

Even the 3+1 format, so close to the VC’s heart, has been sacrificed at the OBC altar, he told Hindustan Times.

“We wanted to introduce a four-year undergraduate degree in tune with international standards. I had envisioned a 3+1 formulation, which would include a three-year bachelor’s degree with one-year diploma to lend students a professional edge,” Pental said.

But this innovative idea will not see the light of the day. “The implementation of the OBC quota has left us no scope to innovate or experiment with new ideas,” Pental said.

The VC was also interested in introducing dual degree programmes to encourage multidisciplinary studies. “The idea was to make students competent in two subjects. So instead of choosing either Math or Economics, students could have chosen both. That idea, too, has been shelved,” Pental said.

Three months before the new academic session, DU is struggling to find ways to accommodate additional student intake in the face of a funds shortage. “The critical issue is release of funds by the UGC for expansion.

“The Moily Committee has decided on the per capita expenditure per student, which should reach us as soon as possible,” Pental said.

If the University has to implement 9 per cent OBC quota in the first year, it has to increase overall intake by 18 per cent. Thus the student strength, including both undergraduate and post-graduate courses, will go up from 48,491 to 57,219.

The Oversight Committee has allocated a total of Rs 1202 crore as one-time expenditure for DU colleges and departments and Rs 489 crore as annual recurring expenditure to be used over three years.

Moreover, the UGC was to distribute Rs 872 crore among central universities to begin implementation of quota last year. But this fund was withheld as the Supreme Court put a stay on the quota issue.

With most of the 66 constituent colleges and 56 postgraduate departments lacking adequate infrastructure and staff, the quality of education is likely to suffer.

“There is going to be a lot of suffering. Already our examination branch is constrained. Considering the magnitude of the work, I cannot see how we can salvage the situation. If the quality of education goes down then even students whom we want to help (OBC candidates) will not benefit,” said the VC.