Delhi University is still the primary destination for higher education in India as it provides quality, diversity and affordability.
In recent years, the gross enrolment ratio in India in higher education institutions has seen a steep increase. There has been an increase in the number of first-generation learners at college. According to the All India Survey on Higher Education Report, there is a 27.3 per cent increase in the share of people in the age group 18 to 23 pursuing higher education.
However, this value was only 6 to 9 per cent at the beginning of the century. Delhi University stays the premier institute attracting more students. DU is an attractive destination as it offers an ecosystem of exchanges across cultures in a cosmopolitan environment.
Competitive Environment and Cultural Ethos
Till the mid-Nineties, the charm of Delhi University was confined to the North Campus. However, as the university grew according to the growing demand, colleges in other parts of the city became significant. The university offers a highly competitive environment makes one feel relieved in acquiring a seat anywhere in the university. The same curriculum is being taught across colleges.
A plurality of cultures in a home away from home is important as it creates a sense of belonging with people who are not from our village, family, city or state. This helps in transcending boundaries and creates an understanding. Therefore, the model of several liberal arts colleges within a small area with the same course content has been an advantage to DU.
Delhi University is a public university. It has also worked hard to represent historically marginalised communities. The university fuses concepts of Ambedkarite principles of representation and Nehruvain optimism about public education.
Moreover, Private Universities are often unaffordable. The higher education system needed expansion, accommodation and excellence. Higher education in India has been widely expanded. Some states like Kerala saw colleges being set up in every constituency.
However, the question arises on whether a state should have so many colleges? Or should there be concentrated clusters of learning which is capable of attracting students from across the Globe?
States such as Tamil Nadu and Karnataka focussed on setting up self-financing engineering colleges. However, states like Andhra Pradesh wooed private education majors. Industrialists and academic entrepreneurs are also setting up universities which are unaffordable.
They have either failed on affordability or quality. It also occurs in many states where they fail to retain teaching talent. Delhi University has excelled in attracting talented students. It has also worked towards giving them, in a cosmopolitan city, exposure to a rich extra-curricular environment.
Delhi University is now a truly broad-based institution. It has been able to retain talented teachers. However, Delhi University must address the issue of ad hocism permeating the faculty which is its major disadvantage.
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