Conflicting opinions, conflicting information and conflicting “Open Days”– the prospective student or parent had generous offerings of all these and more during Delhi University’s penultimate “open day,” here on Wednesday with the “official open day” in the university’s air-conditioned conference centre at odds with the “unofficial open day” right across the road in the open sun where the “Save DU campaign’ had set up shop replete with posters and mikes.
“They are saying that the course is so good for our children and you are saying it is so bad. You are right and they are right too, and we are just sandwiched in between,” said a bearded man, who had usurped the mike from a speaker of the campaign. His sentiments were echoed by several students who were listening attentively to all that was being said.
“I do not know what to think anymore. During my last year in school it was common talk that getting into DU was all you needed to do to be successful later on. But listening to these people I do not feel like enrolling in this university. I feel I will be at a disadvantage compared to other university students,” said a distressed Megha, while listening to a speech that said: “With the new course, DU graduates might one day become BPO employees or perhaps be employed in malls and fast-food chains but I do not see them becoming research scientists or academics in a university.”
A somewhat similar issue had crept up on Zoology hopeful student Aparna and her father who had arrived too late to attend the official open day session. “These people are saying that under the new format, I will have to attend some school-level courses for the first two years and my subject will begin only in year three. I do not know any other university that is reputed for this course but I intend to find out if what they say is true,” she said, adding that they were planning to come on time on Thursday to find out if what the protestors were saying was actually true.
Another confused student Raveena Choudhry said that she had come to the “open day” with an “open mind” to learn more about the new four-year course. “Inside it was just about admissions and everything; they didn’t speak about the advantages of the new four-year course but outside there are so many disadvantages outlined that I am just confused,” she said, adding that her DU goal was “Political Science in any North Campus college.”
There were some others who said that four-year course or not, Delhi University was on their agenda. “I intend to come here for my Bachelor’s in Elementary Education course regardless of whether it is four years, three years or five years,” said Harman Kaur.
She also added that it was just one question per person due to time and space issues at the DU open day and it was probably the reason why several students and parents walked across to get information from the protestors.
Those that did not were themselves approached by the protesting students and teachers from the leftist groups All-India Students’ Association, Students’ Federation of India and the Left and Democratic Teachers' Forum.