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Capitalising on quality

Delhi has some of India’s best institutions, and that help you reach out to a wider world

education Updated: May 25, 2011 11:06 IST
Rahat Bano
Rahat Bano
Hindustan Times

hy study in Delhi? It’s a launch pad to the wider world.

The national capital has a high concentration of some of India’s best higher education institutions, peopled by leading academics and very bright students.

It’s home to the biggest name in medical education and training in the country – the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. The Indian Institute of Technology and Jawaharlal Nehru University are not only among the best in the homeland, but they are also internationally-ranked. One of the top preferences of students from practically all over the country is the University of Delhi. The School of Planning and Architecture is highly regarded, too.

The metropolis is home to international institutions such as the Italy-headquartered International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology and, more recently, the SAARC member countries’ South Asian University.

Among undergraduate institutes, St Stephen’s, Shri Ram College of Commerce and Lady Shri Ram College for Women are at the top of the charts. Their graduates sail through the admissions processes of globally-renowned universities such as Oxford, Cambridge and Yale. Some American institutions even waive off the requirement of 16 years’ formal education for select candidates. Last year, a St Stephen’s graduate got direct admission for a PhD programme at the noted Max Planck Laboratory, Germany, right after her BSc in physical science.

“Branding matters,” says Saumen Chattopadhyay, associate professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies. “In education, what’s important is not the degree but the quality of education.”

That’s what lures students from all over the country. Most of them swear by the infrastructure and other resources and camp here indefinitely, come DU admission time, preparing for entrance tests, recruitment exams and scholarships. Being in Delhi also brightens their chances of getting admissions to educational institutions abroad as most of the diplomatic missions and their education promotion wings are here. “It’s much easier to appear for interviews (for foreign scholarships etc) in Delhi,” says Chattopadhyay, who completed his masters and higher studies in the city.

Studying in Delhi is also about exposure, networking and acquiring an edge, though many are compelled to leave their hometowns and states partly due to infrastructural constraints, as well as socio-economic and security issues.

“Many of our students come to the Capital because the situation back home is very bad in terms of infrastructure and social unrest,” says Boveio Poukai Duo, president, Naga Students’ Union, Delhi, which was established in 1963. There are about 22,000 Naga students in Delhi/NCR, not just from Nagaland but also from Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh (plus Myanmar).

Students would face limits within their hometown, says Duo. “If we have to compete with the world, we have to be in Delhi. Delhi is the choice of more than 50% of Nagas including students, civil services aspirants and also state civil services aspirants who come here for coaching and go back to write the exams.”

Delhi is about possibilities that can make the motivated and determined realise their full potential. It can open up mind-boggling vistas. It’s here that graduates can bag jobs with R32 lakh in annual pay (Deutsche Bank offered the amount over the last two years). Delhi’s services sector and the corporate sector in its satellite towns have a host of internship, training and placement opportunities — linked by a fabled Metro train. Buses, taxis, auto-rickshaws and cycle-rickshaws and even bicycles on-hire, connect the dots on your route map.

“Delhi is open to everybody. It doesn’t discriminate. There’s diversity among students as well as faculty members. You feel you belong,” says Chattopadhyay.

That’s what many people think. Delhi belongs to everyone. “It’s the country’s capital, so people come here. It’s the best,” says Joseph Malsawmtluanga, a final-year law student who chose to study here as he was “not satisfied” with the law programme in his home state Mizoram. Legal education, he says, is “really good — good lecturers, good library, and the office staff is good too,” says Malsawmtluanga, who is also president of Delhi Mizo Students’ Association, which has about 600-700 members, though he puts the total number of Mizo students in the Capital at 1,000.

Life in Delhi, however, is not all that rosy, given the extreme weather conditions and the high crime rate. It’s also considered an expensive city. The crowds, the traffic can rattle. But it’s for those who manage to keep their feet firmly on the ground and carve their niche at the same time. “If you have come with a strong heart and will, you can do well. Otherwise, it’s very easy to get swayed by Dilli ki hawa (Delhi has that kind of an effect on you),” says Ratnpriya, a student of Miranda House, from Bokaro.

From medieval sites and gardens to shiny malls and multiplexes, there are a number of places you can visit. Three years of college might be short to sample the fare at the veritable list of restaurants in Delhi

Local Transport
Delhi has an evolving public transport system. There’s the growing Metro rail network which has just forayed into the suburbs. You can also choose to ride AC or non-AC buses. There are thousands of auto-rickshaws on the road but drivers overcharge, especially if not plying by the meter.

For shorter distances, cycle-rickshaws are available in most localities and bicycles in some. Cabs and radio taxis are available too

Hot Hangouts

Karol Bagh, Connaught Place, Sarojini Nagar, Chandni Chowk, Hauz Khas, Rajouri Garden, Lajpat Nagar,
Dilli Haat (for ethnic products and various state cuisines) near INA market and Pitampura

Art galleries...
National Gallery of Modern Art
Lalit Kala Akademi
Garhi Studio
Triveni Kala Sangam
Art Today, Hamilton House,
India International Centre
India Habitat Centre (many activities)

The Mughal Gardens
National Zoological Park
Lodi Gardens
Garden of Five Senses

First Published: May 24, 2011 16:53 IST