Varsities lack funds for more seats

The reservation issue seems to have started another debate, this time in academic circles. With the new academic year due to begin in about six months, there is very little time to build up infrastructure for the proposed 27 per cent increase in seats, point out officials, and the biggest problem that the Central universities in Delhi are facing is lack of funds.

"The funds allocated by the Veerappa Moily Oversight Committee are abysmally poor. Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), which is ranked internationally, has been compared with an undergraduate college where the teacher-student ratio is 1:30. This will seriously compromise the quality of our teaching,'' points out JNU Vice-Chancellor B. B. Bhattacharya.

Delhi University Vice-Chancellor Deepak Pental has also expressed his doubts over the capacity to implement the increase in its current form. Like JNU, Delhi University is also battling a financial crunch.

"We have expressed these concerns to the University Grants Commission. The UGC has promised to take up the matter with the appropriate authorities and I hope that we will get a favourable response,'' stated Prof. Bhattacharya.

Apart from the financial aspect, there are other practical considerations. With no classrooms to teach new students, no hostels to accommodate the new entrants, next year will be a nightmare for officials.

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They may be at the top among business schools in India, but one of the strongest educational brands in India - the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) -- are looking forward to becoming even better. To achieve this goal, the Pan-IIM Alumni Association (Pan-IIM AA) organised a panel discussion on "How to make IIM a Global Brand?" this week as part of its annual event. The keynote speech was delivered by Kiran Karnik, an IIM alumnus and president NASSCOM, on "Innovation in Education".

Bringing together the best and the brightest of IIMs, the seminar was attended by Nripjit Singh Chawla, former Managing Director and CEO Max Healthcare; Jerry Rao, chairman of MPHASIS; and Arun Seth, chairman of British Telecom South Asia, among others.

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It is the right colour for a college to be. Being "green'' in more ways than one, Kamala Nehru College is organising a National Conference on "Our Planet: Habitat and Development'' next week.

Kamala Nehru College takes the environment seriously and has been water harvesting and doing solid waste management for two years now. Looking at environment issues as a practical necessity, the conference will also try to get students to understand the historical aspect of wildlife and forests.

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Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University in Delhi held its third Convocation this week. Union Law and Justice Minister H. R. Bhardwaj was the chief guest. "The noteworthy initiatives taken by the University this year include financial assistance for the needy students, who have taken admission on the basis of merit but are unable to finance their studies,'' said Vice-Chancellor K. K. Aggarwal. He also said the faculty of the University publishes more that one paper per year, which is fives times more than the national average. The University conferred gold medals on 39 students for topping in their academic programmes. Degrees were awarded to 112 students of M.Tech. and 11 Ph.D. scholars.

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There is a one-stop destination for success for IAS aspirants now. A Chandigarh-based engineer-turned-entrepreneur has launched a dedicated website that promises to make available the notes of the past IAS toppers to civil services aspirants, albeit at a price. This interactive website, named rather aptly as, also promises to be a forum for the civil services aspirants from across the country.

-- Mandira Nayar