High fives for higher learning
The Union Budget 2008-09 brings good tidings for Delhi University. The university has been declared one of the centres of excellence by the government and bestowed a grant of Rs 100 crore, over and above its regular allocations through the University Grants Commission (UGC).
While the UGC allocation has gone up by over Rs 1,500 crore this year, it also has to create 16 new central universities.
This may mean a not-so-great kitty of funds for DU that is expected to undertake some major up gradation this year.
Delhi University Vice-Chancellor Deepak Pental told Hindustan Times the allocation was not enough to tide over the demand for infrastructural expansion that is expected. “We are thankful for the Rs 100-crore grant. It is not adequate, but something is better than nothing. Infrastructure upgrade requires both time and money and one cannot create it overnight,” said Pental.
Pental added the special grant would be utilised to add more classrooms, improve laboratories and research facilities. “This is a very timely grant because we have started three new Masters in Technology (MTech) courses in Material and Nano Material, Nuclear Physics and Technology and Organic Synthesis. This will enable us to properly equip laboratories and start research work. Otherwise we would have started on a shoe string budget,” he added.
Pental said the university was still waiting for some extra funds for upgrades promised last year. “In the 2007-08 budget, we got Rs 15 crore, of which Rs 8 crore were spent on UGC scholarships for PhD student. This fund was meant to be spent on Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students, crèche facilities for teachers and other support and ancillary services. We are asking UGC to give us some more funds for 2007-08 as 2008-09 allocations will take some time to be released,” he said.
Speaking about the process of reforms at DU, Pental said it was not just infrastructural upgrade but also improvement in academic system which was afoot in the university. “The Academic Council in its meeting last night decided to introduce the semester system for post-graduate classes and also gather feedback on courses from students. The council also unanimously condemned violence aimed at teachers and the head of the history department,” he added.