The University of Delhi is at the cusp of celebrating its 100 years in the year 2022. As we prepare to commemorate the centenary, it is time to reflect on what we are, what we have done well and what we must do better to improve the learning environment and to position the University as a leading global institution of higher learning. There is much in our past that we can be proud of. We also feel very proud of the contribution the University is making today in providing high quality education within very limited budgets available to a public university such as ours.
The institution of eminence (IoE) proposal effort has provided us with much food for thought. The University of Delhi has sought inputs from all the Departments in the University and the Vice Chancellor, Pro Vice Chancellor, Dean of Colleges, Registrar and Deans of the Faculties have led several rounds of inter-Faculty and inter-Departmental discussions. The main aim of these deliberations was to determine the thrust areas in research and teaching at the University which will have an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary focus with an eye on their societal relevance. We received numerous proposals. At the same time it was realised that in order to respond to the IoE request for proposal, we must approach the strategic plan very differently, namely, focus on new ideas rather than additional funding. So, our proposal focuses on the critical transformation of the way we function. This includes the whole gamut of the University’s affairs, from what we will teach, how we will teach to how we will market ourselves and finance our future needs. This is a difficult journey but we realize that we must explore it.
At the same time, we would like to make a plea for better Government funding of higher education. It is critical for a nation that has throughout its long history valued academic pursuits and has supported teaching and the teacher more than any other vocation. If India is to have its rightful place as a leading nation in the galaxy of the largest economies, its public universities will need to lead the way and this will require public funding even as the universities must become more adept at finding resources beyond the Government. More so, in case of the University of Delhi, which is outstanding in more ways than one. While the University stands the tallest in terms of quality of teaching and research, the sheer scale of the number of courses/programmes and students is unparalleled, therefore, incomparable with other candidate institutions under IoE. The University of Delhi stands apart from all and must be seen as such for the purpose of allocation of resources.
This proposal seeks funds for teaching, research and skill enhancement and development programme under a novel interdisciplinary/multi-disciplinary theme-based initiative worth Rs. 793 crores, modern amenities including hostel facilities for about 5,000 students at a budget outlay of Rs. 250 crores, and recreational facilities for resident students and staff for Rs. 100 crores, expansion and upgradation of WUS health and wellness facilities for Rs. 100 crores, faculty housing to offer a residential campus environment at a cost of Rs. 20 crores. In order to follow a need-blind admission policy and ensure that a student admitted in the University stays enrolled, we have made a provision to establish an endowment fund of Rs. 100 crores for offering scholarships/loans/freeships to the needy and deserving students. To give a flip to the creative pursuits of the University a financial plan of about Rs. 1500 crores is being submitted.