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The Hype Around Delhi University

Over the course of being part of an education system that has heralded the entire character of one’s being based solely on the basis of the marks that they have achieved in their class 12th boards exams, it has deeply, and utterly, sucked.

This article does not in any manner, negate the achievements of those kids that have passed out this year and have earned a place for themselves in the almighty Delhi University, but against the establishment that appoints Delhi University at the very pinnacle of academical achievement in our country.

Every student that has graduated over the period of the past 10 years, Delhi University has reserved the right for being on the very top of every student’s aspirations. But the startling thing is that no one has questioned this right for it to be an aspiration; it has been something that has been forced down every student’s throat over the past decade without anyone justifying its aura of awe.

Delhi University is a university that is ironical within its title itself; it does not provide admissions to students from the very state in which its lounges in splendour, but to those who come from across the country to be a part of it, such is its standing.

But enough about the ranting, let’s get down to business. Delhi University is infamously known more for the reservations it carries than its threshold of academical superiority. Delhi University has a grand total of approximately 70,000 seats it offers. Out of these 70,000 seats, 15% are reserved for Scheduled Tribes, while 7.5% for the Scheduled Casts. A further 27% reservation exists for Other Backward Classes. Further, there are provisions for applicants under the Sports Quota, which clocks in about 5% for every undergraduate course, with the EWS quota boasting a similar reservation figure. There is also a 5% reservation for Kashmiri Migrants too.

So after looking at all these figures, we can safely state that Delhi University has about 50% (having lowballed this figure) of its seats under various reservation criteria for its applicants every year. And to add the icing on this cake, 5.63 lakh children had applied for admissions in the Delhi University this year, with the figure being the highest over the past 3 years (thanks to the Coronavirus which made everyone apply for DU).

The Law of Economics have quite simply described the phenomenon of demand and supply in its study. But this principle is not paid heed to when it comes to the Delhi University cut-offs. DU has a funny way by which it calculates its cut-offs: It takes a look at the number of applications it has received, throws a dart on a chart of numbers between 99 and 99.99, and decides its cut-offs for the upcoming year.

Well, this is not all completely true. It’s basically normal supply and demand at work. The supply of the seats remains fixed (with taking into the reality regarding reservations, it’s only going downwards) and the percentages of scores that students have been achieving (that have only been going up).

Ironically, the scores of students in theoretical subjects have soared, since students have been getting 100 marks in subjects like History, Political Science and Sociology. The others subjects have remained as scoring as they have been, maybe even more so. The average score for this year’s batch was an absurd 95%, which only worsens the conditions of the situation.

This year, the cut-off for courses like Economics Honours from St Stephens University soared up to a ridiculous 99.75%, whereas Lady Shri Ram recorded a cut-off of 100% in three of its courses. These cut-offs are literally higher than the amount of germs Dettol aims to kill, literally.

However, the problem can always be traced back to the faulty apple that makes bad the entire bushel. So, where is this metaphorical apple really? And by way of this metaphorical apple, I mean to question as to why does Delhi University deserve the top-notch applicants every year? What has it really achieved to have demanded the best efforts of academic vigour over this past decade?

The infrastructure has relatively stayed the same as it was before, only to have worsened instead of improving, if we are to face the reality. A few universities within DU had reputedly ran out of funds to pay their own teachers, and their curriculum has stayed largely the same across all major courses it has been offering, in a world that is constantly adapting itself with every new second it lives.

If the pristine example of undergraduate education in this country is running on outdated concepts and ideals within its own subjects, with no improvement in the academical pedagogy it possesses, with no improvements in infrastructure that can accommodate a higher number of students, why is it really worth for lakhs of students burning the midnight lamp, hoping they can someday be part of something that is considered to be so valuable when it doesn’t itself know from where it derives its value from?