DU has increased the number of seats from 66,000 in 2019 to 70,000 this year. Hence, an estimated amount of 4000 seats will be added to the colleges. There are 51 constituent colleges in the varsity all set to admit new students in the academic year 2020-21. This increase in seats is for the accommodation of the Economically Weaker Section(EWS). However, DU colleges lack funds to improve infrastructure and arrange new seats.
Shobha Bagai, the university’s dean of admission says, “The addition of seats is possible because of the new reserved Economically Weaker Section(EWS).” Central Government’s January 2019 directions have been put into focus. The government asked the University to add supplementary seats for more accommodation. In 2019, the number was extended from 55,000 to 66,000. Therefore, the EWS reservations were for around 10 percent of the seats.
Problems faced by DU colleges on implementing the addition of new seats:
Principals of various colleges hold the view that they face numerous challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic is one of them. They are wholeheartedly ready for the addition of seats under the EWS quota but the infrastructure doesn’t allow them so. However, increasing the seats has led to many shortcomings. Lack of infrastructure is one of the most vital reasons that need focus. If there isn’t a new building then more students could not be accommodated. The shortage of faculty members is another primary reason which restricts the building of sub-sections.
COVID 19 also plays a major role as it has compelled the colleges to conduct virtual classes. These online classes are like an unnecessary burden on the college faculty. They are supposed to manage online learning resources. College reopening has also to be prepared soon meeting the social distancing norms. Hence, all these safety measures against the pandemic are posing an unnecessary burden.
No additional funding for incorporating new seats:
Colleges are still waiting for additional funds that had been assured to them. These funds were promised by the government to implement new seats for the reserved EWS quota. Approval to hire new faculty members has also been put on hold. The varsity lack funds that are to be provided to the colleges. Hence, no new members are being appointed and no funds are given for infrastructural development.
Some colleges even have new buildings ready in the name of infrastructure, but the minimal funding to implant new benches and desks are also absent. Manoj Khanna, principal of Ramjas College said, “We have an extra building to accommodate new students, but the funds to bring new benches are not given.” He also adds that all this is easy to handle for now, as the students are not physically present. However, when the college reopens, accommodation and seats will pop up as a major issue.
Hence, the promised additional funding was not provided to most colleges under EWS implementation. All the principals hold this view that the government should consult them before making new implementations. Other highlighted problems include practical issues like the management of common rooms and adjustment of more students into a single classroom. Dr. Rajesh Giri, Rajdhani college principal said, “ Adjusting more students in the same classroom will not be possible.” He also added that the capacity of the common rooms for girls and boys cannot be extended in any case.
Covid-19 measures require social distancing which could not possibly be followed by adjusting more students in a classroom. Sanitizers, thermal scanners, and other equipments are required for protection against corona and as per the guidelines set by the health ministry. However, colleges are not able to include any of them due to less money given.
Colleges lack permanent faculty members due to less fund given. Mostly ad-hoc members work who are appointed for around 4 months. DU nearly has 4500 ad-hoc faculty members working. Babli Moitra Saraf, principal of Indraprastha College for Women says that they have no problems regarding accommodations and infrastructure. Hence, they only need funds to recruit permanent teachers.
Words of Ministry of Education:
The Ministry of Education presented in the Parliament the estimate of allocated funds to various central universities in a written form. According to the report, Rs 1437.73 crore has been allocated in the year 2019-20 and 2020-21. They also claimed that the UCG had conveyed the additional funding to implement seats for EWS to the colleges. However, the colleges unapproved the ministry’s claim as no such funding has been allotted to them.