Some promises kept and many more to be made is the way forward for the student unions in the city. Like last year, this year too, student elections at the University of Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru University will be held on the same day, ie September 13, 2013. While the Four-Year Undergraduate Programme and demand for more fellowships have become major rallying points at DU and JNU, respectively, most students demand implementation of stringent measures for safety of girls on campus and the need for more gender sensitisation programmes.
Candidates of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) support a review and are also backing the DU Teachers’ Association stir against the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP). “The fact that the FYUP allows students to exit in the second or third year will lead to more cases of dropouts. Also, a master’s degree at all universities remains a two-year course, which means students will have to spend an extra year overall. The programme has too many anomalies and has been undemocratically implemented without the ­students’ union being taken into consideration,” says Saket Bahuguna, media convenor, ABVP, DUSU.
ABVP’s major demands this year include greater campus security for women. “Based on the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee, we suggested that more lady officers be deployed in and around the campus and CCTV cameras be installed,” adds Bahuguna.
ABVP also demands more hostels and new colleges at DU. “No new college has been started since the last 14 years. Around 54% seats were increased when the OBC reservation policy was implemented, which meant a greater student intake but no new hostel was started. Thousands of students can’t make it to DU due to inadequate seats. If all morning colleges are ­converted into evening ­colleges, this problem can be solved and all available resources can be put to optimum use,” says Bahuguna.
Other goals of Bahuguna and his team include having a single-window system in all the colleges by ­decentralising administrative authority; extra attendance for students involved in co-curricular activities; a centralised online form for SC/ST students; complaint boxes in all the administrative offices; better medical facilities to all ­students within the campus and more u-special buses.
The National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), on the other hand, also shares similar goals and has done some good work for the benefit of the students. One of its major successes is the DUSU job fair that was organised recently. About 700 students were placed and over 50 companies participated in the first-of-its-kind fair. “Making college union office-bearers members of the committee against ­sexual harassment was our agenda last year too. We demand that all ­colleges should have a women’s ­development ­centre. We also aim to organise more ­workshops for ­students to make them aware of how they can use the RTI Act to their advantage,” says Amrishranjan Pandey, ­national spokesperson, NSUI.
At JNU, the All-India Students’ Association (AISA) wants to focus on all areas concerning students. “We want more fellowships for PhD students in their last two years of research. We want the university to do away with discrimination in the viva voce of the MPhil entrance. More gender sensitisation programmes, and increasing the merit-cum-means scholarships from `2,000 to `3,000 for BA and MA students is also on our agenda. We are also part of the anti-FYUP campaign in DU and against the ­massive fee hike in Jamia,” says Sandeep Singh, national president, AISA.
AISA, however, has managed to bring in some concrete changes at JNU in the last one year. “We helped in starting the JNU press, in association with the Oxford University Press. This will help in getting the research papers of students printed. The university library has also got remote access services. New centres like the Centre for Media and Research Studies and Centre for Informal Economy Studies were started as part of our mission for academic rejuvenation. The School of Languages got a new centre in the form of the Korean Centre and three new courses were started at the School of International Studies after we pursued all these demands,” adds Singh.