The new Delhi government's proposal to reserve 90 percent seats in Delhi University (DU) colleges for locals has undoubtedly cheered city students, but has not found favour with others from across India, including students from the northeast who flock to Delhi for quality education. "The proposed reservation does not keep up with the spirit of the university. Since it is a central university, we should be welcoming students not only from India, but also from other countries," I.S. Bakshi, principal, Dyal Singh College, told IANS.
"I believe that (Manish Sisodia, Delhi education minister) has good intentions, as this proposal will allow students to stay in their city and study, but I don't feel reservation is the answer," he added. Saloni Sharma, assistant professor at Kirori Mal College, feels the proposal is nothing but a populist measure. "Such reservation makes no sense as a lot of students, especially from the eastern parts of India, look forward to studying at the university, which holds an aspirational value for them. The reservation will simply deny them of that option," she said. Sharma added that the right way to address this problem is to increase the number of colleges. Delhi's Education Minister Manish Sisodia had lamented that of the 2.65 lakh students who pass out from schools in Delhi, only 90,000 manage to get into Delhi colleges.
He proposed 90 percent seats be reserved for Delhi residents in DU colleges that which are fully funded by Delhi government. There are 12 Delhi university colleges that are funded by Delhi government. Amar Deo Sharma, a former member of Delhi University Teachers' Association, outrighly slammed the proposal. "DU is not a state university. It is a central university, and should not be confined to Delhi only. If they are keen on reserving seats for Delhi students, they should open state colleges," Sharma told IANS. Denouncing the move, Valson Thampu, principal of St. Stephen's College, in an article Wednesday in the Indian Express titled 'No 'outsiders' in Delhi' wrote: "The idea of reserving seats for Delhi domiciles could even be counter-productive for the people of Delhi and for the Aam Aadmi Party."
"By reserving a few thousand seats, a measure of appeasement may be achieved. This could, however, blunt the urgency to develop additional educational facilities commensurate with ever-increasing needs." Inam Sarah Pangain from Arunachal Pradesh felt the move is a "tyrannical act." "This plan is a tyrannical act and is not justifiable. They should lower the percentage for Delhi students," Pangain told IANS. Bishnu Chettri, a parent from Gangtok, said: "There is a lot of unrest and lack of secondary education in our state. With so much competition, and now this reservation, where will our children from the northeast go?" Anthony Mawrie, a student from Shillong whose brother will be applying for admission to Delhi University next year, is indifferent towards the reservation plan.
"Every other person has a quota these days, so, Delhi students getting one is fine. However, 90 percent is a little too high, and hurts the aspirations of non-Delhi students," he said. But for Jigyasa Mukherjee, a first year student at DU, reservation is a great idea. "While filing my admission forms, I realised many universities have reservation criteria for domicile students. I feel even Delhi students should be given such an option, especially when DU is such a reputed institution," Mukherjee, 19, a Delhiite told IANS. Tarjeet Sabharwal, senior professor at the journalism department at the Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, welcomes the proposal to an extent.
"Since the students in Delhi do not have much options, I believe they must get adequate reservation. However, I am not in favour of a 90 percent reservation. Something between 50 percent to 60 percent would be ideal," Sabharwal told IANS.