For the last few year, the month of June has been a tormentor for all those Delhi’ites whose wards clear their Class XII examinations. It is sad to see that that instead of being happy and excited about  getting into College for an undergraduate course or a professional course,  there is an ever growing number of parents and students who go through harrowing times with hardly sure of getting  accepted in a college of their own choice for the courses they would like to pursue.The reason is simple –the rapidly growing gap between demand and  availability of undergraduate seats in Delhi colleges.  Largely for students, Delhi University is the axis of hope and aspirations but at present it has only  54000 seats for undergraduate courses. These seats have remained stagnant for quite sometime with no new colleges being opened by Delhi government.  Out of these seats, only around 27000 seats are available for general category students. If we take out seats under sports and cultural quota , the number of seats left for general students who want to join a good college of their  choice would be even lesser

With around 2 lakh students passing out their class XII examinations from Delhi every year and another lakh plus students applying for admission in various undergraduate courses in Delhi colleges , the opportunities for affordable higher education for students in the Capital are getting far less and fewer.

The combined strength of all universities and government aided or affiliated professional colleges in Delhi  would be around 70,000 seats for undergraduate courses. That is just not enough to cater to even the students passing out from Delhi, leave apart lakhs of other youngsters who come to Delhi to realise their dreams of better and higher education.

So what do we do?  The first and the most important things is to expand number of seats in undergraduate courses. This can be done in three ways- first, start evening classes in all morning colleges run by the DU. Second, open atleast 15 new colleges over the period of next three to five years. This can be done by Delhi government’s Directorate of Higher Education as the Delhi government has the mandate to open new colleges under DU. Though, for the last 14 years, now new college has been opened in the DU which is beyond comprehension for anyone who has witnessed the growing tide of talented students who are increasingly feeling frustrated due to lack of opportunities for quality higher education in Delhi. Third, there is an urgent need to open up an online university which could absorb large number of students who would like to pursue a job  or some other professional courses after finishing their school.

One of the most neglected aspects of higher education in Delhi is creating linkages between education and employment. There is an urgent need to set up a Skill Development Mission  exclusively for Delhi. There is no point in churning out graduates and post-graduates who struggle to find suitable jobs as they often lack the skills to match the demands of the job market. By  integrating skill development with higher education curriculums, the youth educated from Delhi based institutions of higher learning would be able to realise their potential appropriately. A vast army of unemployed educated youth can have serious repercussions on the social fabric of the city. This is one issue which hasn’t received as much attention as it should have in the past and it is time to create innovative and out of box solutions  to meet such challenges.  

 When we talk of innovative solutions, there is a sensitive issue for which we should develop a consensus. The issue is whether Delhi students should get preference  when it comes to the issue of college admissions. It would be pertinent to discuss the possibility of  a provision of a 2 to 4 per cent relaxation in marks in admission to undergraduate courses in Delhi Unversity for all the students passing out class XII  from any of the Delhi schools. This  can be applicable to all the students passing out from Delhi schools whether their families are domiciles of Delhi or not. This can be implemented immediately in atleast Delhi government’s  colleges in DU.

This would provide relief to lakhs of parents in Delhi whose wards do not get admission in DU and  are forced to go to other states to study often  paying exorbitant fees in private colleges and staying in unsafe conditions in private accommodations.

Simultaneously, we can take certain steps to ensure that students from other states   can also enrol with some of the most prestigious institutions in Delhi. For this  institutions like SRCC, St. Stephens, LSR College, Hindu College may open their branches in neighbouring states. This would allow many students from other states to study in these prestigious institutions in their own states. It will also reduce the number of applicants in DU from other states and hence provide more opportunities to Delhi students to study in their own city.  Thus it could be a win-win situation for all.

Simultaneously we must also provide more hostel accommodations for students coming from outside Delhi in DU as a large number of them are being compelled to stay in unsafe private accommodations paying high rents. This has to be done on war footing as the hostel accommodations in for students leave much to be desired.

Delhi has the potential of becoming a world class affordable hub for education. We must make efforts to invite world class institutions to set up their campuses in the city.   The one occupies the seat of power in the Capital will have to play a pivotal role in carrying out  all these steps mentioned above as well as many more which would  be required to make  Delhi the best educational hub in this part of the world.   We must dream big and big enough and make a concerted effort to realise them if we really want our city to be best in the world.

(The writer is President of the Delhi unit of Bharatiya Janata Party and the former President of Delhi University Students Union)

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My visions for Delhi stems from these inspiring words of Swami Vivekanada. I sincerely believe that Delhi has enough number of brave, bold men and women who can make it not only one of the best cities.

My vision for Delhi is that it should be a city of opportunities where people

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