For Tsering Bhutia of Gangtok, having secured admission in two of Delhi University’s best colleges — St. Stephen’s College and Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) — is not reason enough to celebrate.
Her real concerns are about finding a hostel seat. “I have heard many stories about the problems women students face while living in private accommodation. Not only is it more expensive, it is unsafe. I will join SRCC if I get hostel here,” said Bhutia, who has scored 95 per cent marks in Class XII.
Bhutia has failed to get admission in St. Stephen’s Residence, and the chances of getting into the SRCC hostel are also bleak, given the fact that the college offers only three (hostel) seats for Economics (Honours) students. For women students from all over the country, getting into a college hostel is always preferable from the safety point of view. Priyanka Priyadarshini from Patna is one such student.
<b1>“We were a bit shaky earlier about my daughter studying in DU, given the law and order situation. But now we have decided not to let go of this opportunity. Even before she applied to colleges, we found out about paying guest accommodation,” Anjani Kumar, Priyanka’s father, told this corrrespondent over the phone from Patna.
Accommodation has always been a tricky issue, and things are particularly difficult for women, given the fact that only a handful of colleges offer them hostel seats. Co-educational colleges like St. Stephen’s, SRCC, Ramjas, Hindu, Kirori Mal, Hans Raj offer hostel facilities.
But of these colleges, only the first three offer hostel space for women. Hindu, however, is set to add a women’s hostel by the next academic year. Women’s colleges like Miranda House and Indraprastha remain in demand as they offer hostel facilities. Both the colleges are also augmenting their residential facilities.
SRCC principal P. C. Jain said, “We offer 50 hostel seats for women, while the number of for men students is 150. But we have just received some grant for a women’s hostel and are hoping to add 100 more rooms by next year.” He said the present hostel was carved out of the existing space for men and a new hostel should make things fair.
At St. Stephen’s too, more hostel seats are offered to men as compared to women. The college offers 350 seats, of which 230 are for men, and 120 for women. Vinod Chaudhry, media adviser, St. Stephen’s College, said: “The division of seats is as per a ratio of 1:2. A woman student gets a hostel seat for every two male students. We have plans to construct an additional women’s hostel, but that plan has not taken off.”
Things are worse in South Campus, with only Lady Shri Ram College offering hostel accommodation. Sri Venkateswara is the only other college that is set to start providing hostel facility for both men and women students from October this year.
Where’s the room in DU?
In North Campus, co-ed colleges St. Stephen’s, SRCC, Ramjas, Hindu, Kirori Mal and Hans Raj offer hostel facilities. But only the first three offer hostel seats for women students.
St. Stephen’s plans to construct an additional hostel for women, but no efforts yet towards that direction. In South Campus, Lady Shri Ram is the only college offering hostel accommodation.
Sri Venkateswara College will start providing hostel facilities for both men and women students by October this year.