The increasing number of applications and limited seats may be leading to higher cut-offs, but opening more colleges under Delhi University (DU) is not its solution, college principals and administrators have said. Not a single new college has been opened in the last 13 years in DU, which has 61 undergraduate colleges.
While Wednesday’s debate in the Delhi Legislative Assembly may have raised relevant questions about the future of students who score above 90% and are still unable to secure admission in a course or college of their choice at DU, mindlessly increasing the number of seats on offer is useless, experts feel.
“The need to increase the number of colleges is certainly there, but it is not a good idea to have these colleges only in Delhi University or in Delhi. Centres of excellence need to be opened up in every state. No student wants to leave his/her native state, and if they can get quality education in their own state, they won’t have to come to Delhi,” said PC Jain, principal, Shri Ram College of Commerce — the most sought after college for commerce in the country.
There are 54,000 seats on offer in the university, which is funded by the Centre and does not reserve any seats for Delhi students.
According to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the number of students appearing for the Class 12 exams increases by about 10% each year. The number of applications to DU increases by around 7% each year. Last year, 1.8 lakh students applied for the 54,000 seats. Year after year, the number of students applying from outside Delhi increases.
“Delhi University is already cracking under its current weight. It can’t handle the pressure of 61 colleges. Adding more colleges to the system will result in chaos. The examination system and the administration are bursting at the seams already,” said a senior university official.
Currently, there are some colleges that do not have space to seat students or do not a laboratory big enough to accommodate an entire class.
But the size of the university is not the only problem. Ensuring high quality education at all colleges will also be a challenge is the number of colleges under the university is increased.
The university is currently facing a shortage of around 4,000 permanent teachers. Getting more teachers of a requisite educational and academic background is going to be very difficult."We need a policy under which quality and quantity both are kept in mind. Delhi alone can’t bear the burden of all of the country’s students," said Valson Thampu, principal, St. Stephen’s College.