Over the years, Delhi University hasn’t exactly won accolades when it comes to infrastructure in the colleges. Freshers don’t expect much, and soon, like the old students, acclimatize to the infrastructure, or the lack of it. However, it seems that all this is going to change. Various colleges have begun to plan and implement various new projects to give a boost to the infrastructure in the academic session. From Wi-fi enabled campuses to snazzier sports facilities, improved hygiene conditions to better security around campus, Delhi University certainly seems to be on a revamp drive. While the over all atmosphere in the university is one of satisfaction, the occasional murmur of complaint cannot be ignored. DU Beat did a survey on the emerging face of DU.
The Sri Ram College of Commerce seems to be leading this change as it is the first college in DU to have started computer based learning in the classroom with the teachers using laptops and projectors to conduct classes. Says, Professor S. K. Aggarwal, “This new way of teaching is extremely convenient. It is easier to explain and easier for the students to understand as visual aids leave an impact.” The college has provided the laptops to the teachers at a subsidized rate. They are currently trying to tie up with companies like Dell and HP to extend this facility to the students. The students are very happy and welcome the change. Says Priyanka Bagai, a first year student pursuing Bcom honors in the college, “It’s a nice change and it saves a lot of time because now teachers don’t have to write on the black boards. Moreover, everything is there on the screen in the form of bullet points which makes it easier to understand.” The SRCC campus is also Wi-fi enabled and the classrooms are centrally air-conditioned, providing a comfortable classroom environment. Sri Venkateswara College is also making its Science block air-conditioned which they plan to extend to the Arts Block by next year.
The revamp drive is not just restricted to the classrooms. Some colleges have also renovated facilities like auditoriums and canteens that gives a facelift to the image of the college. The Hans Raj College Auditorium has been transformed from a decrepit building to a beautiful hall, which is fully air-conditioned. The auditorium, which wasn’t much to write home about, is now a source of pride for the students.
Hans Raj College, reputed for its brilliant sports infrastructure can boast of having the only electronic shooting range in DU to help hone the sport that has fetched India medals in the Olympics. Another boost to the sports infrastructure will be given by the construction going on for the commonwealth games. SRCC, along with other colleges like Hindu College and St. Stephen’s college in North Campus, has been the center for construction for the Commonwealth Games projects. Various sites have been dug up in north campus, which are to be the sites for the Aquatics Complex and for Rugby events. The University will be allowed to use the facilities after the Games. This will provide world-class facilities for the budding sportspersons in DU.
With sports facilities being adequately taken care of, the question on many students’ minds is that will basic facilities like toilets be given similar treatment. Now some colleges are beginning to look into this matter. The washrooms have been renovated in Miranda House and Hans Raj, much to the relief of the students there. Says a student of Hans Raj College, “The toilets were in a pathetic state and were generally frequented by the dogs in the college more than us. The stench used to be unbearable and they were used as a last resort. Renovation was long overdue.” Not only have they been made clean and hygienic, they have been given a swanky new look, which the students find very appealing. However, students from Sri Venkateswara College, Hindu College, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College have expressed their displeasure with regard to basic hygiene conditions in their college. On conditions of anonymity, they have that the problem with toilets is particularly bad as they are filthy and stink. Moreover, it is reported that there is a problem with the water taps as well, as some of them are dry, while some do not turn off and thus inundate the surrounding area with water
The death of a class twelfth student in a posh south Delhi school due to the alleged lack of medical facilities should draw attention to the fact that many colleges on campus face a similar problem. Many colleges on campus don’t have any sort of infirmary or a medical room. The few that do don’t have a trained doctor manning it. Take Jesus and Mary College for example, where the nurse nurse also doubles as a storekeeper. Lady Shri ram College is one of the few colleges where there is a medical room with a trained nurse in attendance. Reputed colleges all over the University do not have such facilities. If they do, none of the students are aware of it, which defeats the whole purpose of the room. Students from St. Stephen’s College, Hindu College, Miranda House, Hans Raj College, Sri Venkateswara College and many others were unable to confirm whether their college had such a facility, let alone provide details. Many a time, students requiring medication for some minor ailment have been unable to find it within their colleges
On the whole, the infrastructure situation in the University has ameliorated, drastically. Even as these measures are being perceived as a definite step in the right direction, but some students feel DU still has a long way to go.