Campus Central

Dismal state of Delhi University’s Foreign Language Branch

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DU, often seen as India’s premier public institution, is technically equipped with a flurry of departments, from Finno-Ugric to Persian ones, but given Delhi University’s limited funds, inefficient administration and other maladies which rather famously plague the institution, one does question how well these departments continue to function?

One of my first experiences of the infamous DU chaos was when I visited the Faculty of Arts campus, to sign up for Russian classes, from the Slavonic Studies Department, the only one in the entire country. Not exactly to my surprise, most people I asked had no clue where the department was located within the campus. Eventually, from a back entrance, up a cobweb-covered staircase, I did find the department, a singular hallway with classrooms on either side and an administrative office with an aversion to Gmail. 

While my experience was obviously personal to me, the state of our foreign language departments, once created in order to help foster bilateral ties internationally, create a globalized perspective and in general, integrate the Indian student body with the rest of the world. However, some problems continue to persist. 

Both the Persian and Slavonic Departments have extremely low research output, as intimated by the information made public on their websites with the latter showing only 18 research candidates between 2004 and 2017.

Departments like those of Germanic and Romance Studies, simply do not seem to have functioning websites, which raises questions as to how interested students are to access crucial information regarding syllabi with ease, without even getting into the lack of awareness given the inaccessibility. Similarly, the epartment of Arabic studies, too, doesn’t have its own website to access.

Furthermore, a quick glance at the respective syllabi raises questions about its relevance, especially in comparison to universities abroad, which have far more extensive, well-rounded and relevant curriculums as related to DU whose department plans consist primarily of standard, older syllabi plans, with little to no practical component. 

These foreign language departments are usually aimed at fostering a sense of internationalism and facilitating India’s international relations ties, by creating academics and linguists who could encourage and foster a sense of globalism. But, as these departments blend into the shadows, it makes us question if India’s premier institution is losing its sense of internationalism, as a whole. 

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Image credits – DU Beat


Chaharika Uppal

[email protected]


Journalism has been called the “first rough draft of history”. D.U.B may be termed as the first rough draft of DU history. Freedom to Express.

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