DU: seniors to the rescue of foreign students

As aspirants struggle to communicate with officials on admission procedure

Over the last six years, students from over 95 different countries have sought admissions in Delhi University, according to the Foreign Students’ Registry (FSR) office. Over 498 foreign students were admitted in the 2017-18 academic session. However, several foreign students said that the services provided to them during the admissions “lacked satisfaction”.

Poor communication between departments/colleges and the FSR office and inadequate support system to assist the foreign students in adapting to a new city are the key issues which have pushed fellow students to form associations to help each other.

FSR is the branch of Delhi University which takes charge of all foreign admissions.

“Problem of communication between students and the FSR office has been persistent for a long time. My colleagues received their admission notification late and were left with only one week’s time to figure out all the logistics of getting to India,” said Ritesh Tularam, a PhD scholar from Guyana.

‘Language barrier’

“Once we get admission in a particular department, they [university officials] demand certain documents which we are not informed about at an earlier stage. Language barrier is another problem that we face. There are not many people in the FSR office who canspeak English. This results in miscommunication,” he elaborated.

Dean of FSR Shyama Rath acknowledged that ‘language barrier’ was sometimes an issue with the students who could not speak Hindi, including those from non-Hindi speaking parts of the country, but assured that the staff at the FSR office communicated in English.

Help from embassy

Many students have started relying on alternative channels to get through the admission procedure. Alieu Manneh, a student from Gambia, turned to his embassy for help.

“It was the Embassy of Gambia that helped me out. They informed me about the entrance exam dates and relevant deadlines.”

This vacuum of necessary services created by the FSR office is being increasingly filled by student groups created by senior students.

Groups like ‘Delhi University Tibetan Students’ Union’ help new students in the admission process by arranging forms, necessary documents and temporary accommodation. They also arrange an array of events and orientation sessions to make new students feel comfortable. They also reach out to students from other countries who may not have a large enough population to start an association.

Social media platforms

These groups currently operate on social media platforms, communicating with students via Facebook and WhatsApp groups, on which they regularly update group members about important admission deadlines in English and their native language.

The All India Tibetan Students’ Association Meet has put up information regarding their own “admission helpers”, i.e. group members who can be contacted by students seeking admission in Delhi University.

Several permissions

Certain groups such as the Nepalese Student Association, Delhi University, (NSA-DU) had put forth requests for setting up a dedicated help desk near the FSR office to help foreign students but did not receive a positive response.

“Setting up a separate help desk at the Conference Centre will pose a challenge as it requires several permissions,” said an official who wished to remain anonymous.

On June 18, 2019, members of the NSA-DU met Ms. Rath to discuss the issues being faced by foreign nationals while studying in the university.

“Following this discussion, we have been allowed to form a group of 10-15 members, including foreign and Indian students, who will be assisting the FSR office during the admission process and making it easier and fun for freshers. We are extremely happy with this outcome,” said NSA-DU president Ananda Mishra.

Until 2017, foreign students aspiring to study at DU had to physically submit their admission forms. Since 2018, however, an online registration system has been made available to them.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 1:03:17 AM |

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