While the members of St. Stephen’s faculty may disagree over the jurisdiction of the Supreme Council and the Governing Body and other topics, they do seem to agree on one issue — the need to bridge the gap among students with different learning ability.
St. Stephen’s College has been increasingly accepting students from modest backgrounds and this has led to a change in the institution’s demography. It’s with the introduction of this change that the faculty now feels the need for an organised mechanism to help students with weak learning ability to cope with the high scorers in the class.
“While we have been admitting students from modest backgrounds into our college, we haven’t been able to help them much. Most of these students do not follow lectures taught in English and there is a need for remedial classes to correct the gap between students in a class,” said a teacher, who did not wish to be quoted.
There a few colleges affiliated to Delhi University, which conduct workshops and classes for youngsters coming from marginalised sections of the society to help them mix more easily in class. Lady Shri Ram College, for example, has a Reach Programme under which the college conducts English-speaking, computer literacy and personality development workshops for students with a weak background.
Dayal Singh College was, in fact, one of the first few DU institutions to start extra classes for students of SC/ST category.
“These classes were started for SC/ST category students and the college had received a UGC grant for the same. Improving communication skills of students was one of the main motives of this programme,” said D. Jagannathan, former principal of the college.
The St. Stephen’s college staff council had constituted a committee for remedial classes last year, but unfortunately it hasn’t been able to do anything significant in this respect. Head of Mathematics department Nandita Narain, who is also a member of this committee, feels that a lot of negative issues have kept teachers away from concentrating their energy on kick starting remedial classes.
A.D. Mathur, head of Sanskrit Department, shares a similar opinion. “We lost a lot of our energy on negative and irrelevant issues last year,” he said.