NEW DELHI

Message loud and clear: No ragging!

They may have been all about fun and frolic till about a couple of years ago, but the first day at college is clearly no longer about shedding the inhibition tag, specially if it is with a little help from the seniors.

With most Delhi University colleges now ensuring that anti-ragging posters are up as soon as the admission process begins, the message is being sent out loud and clear and rather early too. While colleges like Hans Raj started a new initiative of sorts last year by making students fill up an anti-ragging form, there was also a ban on entry of any senior into the hostel room of a fresher after 8 p.m.

And while hand-made and printed posters adorn the notice boards and walls of many colleges like Hindu, Ramjas and Hans Raj, there are others who would rather use technology as an aid. Students joining Kirori Mal and Sri Venkateswara College will be monitored with surveillance cameras fitted around the college premises.

Now with the first day of college coming with that kind of pressure, seniors clearly aren't enthused. Most argue that the first day at college is now nothing more than a drab drill, leaving most freshers disappointed. "There has to be a bit of nervousness and anxiety. Ragging is unhealthy only when it crosses a certain limit. For someone who does not know anyone in a college with a thousand new faces, the first day is all about opening themselves up,'' feels Nisha, a second year student.

But then, students will be students, and ragging will perhaps survive even if only under the name of friendly exchanges -- and in classrooms instead of corridors.

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Things sure are changing in the campus colleges. If orientation days are meant to help students understand the working of the institutes, Ramjas has gone one step further and installed a giant projection screen.

Placed right above the committee meeting room, the screen runs an informative video on the college, giving details of the college's various courses and faculties. Strangely enough, the college is planning to take it off because it is not too happy with the arrangement.

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The scene is not getting any better for science subjects in colleges. With commerce and humanities ruling the charts once again, the demand for science is still a far cry from what colleges would like it to be. With the economics of life increasingly dominating students' choice, humanities and commerce subjects are topping the list of student favourites. The number of students jumping from science to commerce continues to be considerable and colleges believe the introduction of contemporary courses -- like the recently introduced restructured B.Sc. programmes -- will help attract students in the coming years towards science.

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The Bioinformatics Institute of India (BII) has announced admission to the B.Sc. and M.Sc. courses in Bioinformatics and Biotechnology offered by it.

Providing an intensive and extensive learning experience, the course attempt to move beyond simulating learning and understanding techniques and address the underlying and recurring problems of the disciplines in today's fast changing business world.

While the B.Sc. course is open to students who have done their Class XII in science or agriculture, those who have done their B.Sc./ BCA /MBBS /B.Pharma /B.Tech are eligible for the M.Sc. courses in Bioinformatics and Biotechnology. The B.Sc. course is of three years' duration while the M.Sc. programme is two years long.

Lakshmi B. Ghosh

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