Often perceived as the leader of reforms, be it academic or technological, the University of Delhi (DU) has been the birthplace of and a home to several reformative ideas. These ideas have changed the lives of students and have had an impact on the culture of the University in the past decade.
Change is the only constant. In this case, it is an apt description of the state of affairs in one of the most prestigious universities of the country. In the past decade, as India’s development story has gone through a sea of change, so has that of one of its premier universities. Some of the reformative initiatives taken up by the University have positively impacted the lives of students and improved the quality of education. In a nutshell, for a university established in 1922, innovation was not a luxury but a necessity in order to ensure that the varsity continued to thrive.
A cultural festival started in 2013, Antardhvani served as a pan-university platform for talent to showcase itself. The event was the brain-child of then Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dinesh Singh who wanted students to “march to the drumbeat of his or her inner calling”. It helped students unleash their inner creativity by performing at an event of a greater magnitude than any college fest. Rock band competitions, National Cadet Corps parades, stalls, and flower shows were all part of Antardhvani. Lucrative prizes worth more than INR 18 lakhs were given to colleges based on criteria like architecture and technology, as well as on various artistic parameters. The flagship event was discontinued after 2015.
Cluster Innovation Centre
The Cluster Innovation Centre (CIC) was established in 2011. It was built to create an educational ecosystem that would teach its students innovation and allow them to think outside the box. CIC offers students bachelor’s degrees in Humanities and Social Sciences as well as in Mathematical Technology and Innovation. It has resources like an engineering kitchen, a robotics and embedded systems lab, a digital fabrication and prototyping lab, along with a computer science lab, an information technology innovation lab, and a library. With an alumni list extending from Oxford University to Google India, the institute has proven to be an excellent experiment of learning innovatively in the last seven years.
The Commonwealth Games left behind an important asset for the University. Apart from the posh stadiums and sports arenas of the University which saw great upliftment in their infrastructure during this time, other basic provisions in the campus also got upgraded. Today, these amenities are used by the University for its academic and extracurricular purposes apart from housing some of the University’s top research centres. They are also used as the venue for the annual convocation ceremony.
With the introduction of Delhi’s very own metro service, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation gave the national capital a priceless gift in 2002. With subsequent phases of development, each part of Delhi-NCR became well-connected. It no longer matters if you live in the far ends of Shahdara, Gurgaon, or Faridabad; reaching college has never been this easy. Remarkably, the two main campuses of the university have their very own stations. Metro rides have become a regular part of student lives, so much so that we cannot imagine what we would do without them. The Delhi Metro undoubtedly changed students’ lives, one token at a time.
Delhi University E-Journals
In the last few years, one of the major steps undertaken by the University in the direction of literary development of the students was coming up with various e-journals. These include the Delhi University Journal of the Humanities and the Social Sciences and the Delhi University Journal of the Natural Sciences. In addition to these, DU-Vidha is a bilingual journal for creative writing while the Delhi University Journal of Undergraduate Research and Innovation publishes original research work from student projects with the aim of disseminating academic articles. The University has put arduous efforts in its endeavor of bringing forth latent talent in the students into the limelight.
Delhi University Website
The emergence of technology in the University completely transfigured its charm. The University of Delhi got its own website in the year of 1998, making it one of three south Asian universities to have websites of their own. However, the current website in use was designed during the tenure of Professor Dinesh Singh. The latest development in this direction is the examination department getting a website of its own in 2017.
Electronic Voting Machines
In 2007, the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) was incorporated into the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections. EVMs were used for one of the first times in an academic institution in the country. It was a historic move following which the contesting parties started using technology while vying for attention and campaigning. In subsequent elections, EVMs began to be used in college union elections as well.
Entrance and Practical Exams
Examinations like the DU Joint Admission Test, the entrance examination for CIC, and practical examinations for courses like B.A. (Honours) Music have led to students being evaluated on the specific skill set that they wish to pursue rather than being dependent on vague and often unreliable board results. The Common Aptitude Test for English (CATE) conducted for students wishing to pursue B.A. (Honours) English, although discontinued later, is another example of a major change that aimed to make the University more student-friendly.
Feature Image Credits: Prateek Singh for DU Beat