Delhi University Vice-Chancellor Deepak Pental wants local students to do a semester or two in the UK and vice versa. “We would like more students to come to us for one semester or two and would like to work it out with British universities for our students,” he said speaking at a British Council event launching a Study India Programme (SIP). DU is helping University of Birmingham deliver the one-month SIP for about a hundred UK students in Delhi. King's College London has allied with HR College, Mumbai, for as many students.
According to Pental, “There's interest among students for this kind of thing.” Pental pointed out that the university had changed some ordinances “which were coming in the way. We are moving to semesters.”
Pental also indicated that with technology making it easy, the university would now have to keep track of its foreign alumni. The pronouncement came as he said he was “surprised” as well as appreciative of the University of Birmingham's track-keeping the first Indian students’ arrival on their campus in 1909, as his counterpart David Eastwood just recounted. “We have no knowledge of who has come and who has gone,” Pental said in a light vein. “You may feel we are lax and sloppy. Maybe that’s true but we are very large-hearted. People come, take a degree and go,” he told the gathering including students from 37 English universities.
Opening up globally
Pental explained that DU wished to have international enrolees but authorities end up taking more students from other South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries. There are government scholarships specifically for SAARC nationals (plus those from some other countries) while a number of Indian institutions offer them fee waivers. “We are very keen to have foreign students at the University of Delhi. Our problem is we would like to have more students from SAARC countries - Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, because they are our neighbours.
We would like to have more students from Africa because we have old ties with them. Of course, we would like to have more from Europe and other parts of the world. One reason why we haven't organised ourselves is that we are struggling with numbers. We decided that no more numbers but we would have better programmes and curricula. We were thinking more about quality.” Under the enhanced intake, the university is supposed to have 1,30,000 undergraduates in 80 colleges in 2010.