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Students left in the lurch

- Boys and girls from Jharkhand studying in Delhi colleges scout for options closer home

Ranchi, June 24: The snowballing controversy between Delhi University and University Grants Commission over the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP) has left hundreds of students from Jharkhand enrolled in or aspiring to study in colleges of the national capital nonplussed.

Unconfirmed reports of the resignation of DU vice chancellor Dinesh Singh on Tuesday, after the Supreme Court refused to intervene in the row, has only added to their bewilderment. While some are mulling varsity switch to avoid a potential career jolt, others are nipping their DU dreams in the bud by deciding not to take part in admissions as and when they happen in the 64 affiliated colleges where the process has been put off by a week.

Bokaro boy Pritam Shah, currently pursuing economics honours at BR Ambedkar College at Yamuna Vihar, said personally he was never in favour of FYUP, but the UGC’s recent order to scrap the programme launched by DU last year had not made him any happier.

“We are feeling stranded. Our life and career are uncertain. Classes are scheduled to resume next month, but no one knows what we shall study. Studying in DU was a dream, which has turned into a bizarre nightmare. My parents are asking me to look for options closer home,” Pritam told The Telegraph over phone from New Delhi.

Neha Rani Patel, a native of Bokaro and journalism student at DU’s Kalindi College in Patel Nagar, claimed that long before the FYUP dispute surfaced, there were problems of irregular classes under the new programme.

“Frankly speaking, the whole academic year that has gone by was a mess. Teachers didn’t seem to know how to go about FYUP and the college management did not clear the air. And now, we are finding ourselves at the crossroads,” Neha said, adding that a fresh batch was to be inducted on July 25.

Giving thumbs down to FYUP, Pritam said the first year’s foundation course was of poor quality. “Whatever we were taught last year seemed like school syllabus; didn’t make any sense wasting time like that. I believe a three-year degree course is much better,” he added.

According to an official of DU’s external students’ cell, roughly 4,000 students from Jharkhand apply for various courses from the state’s ISC and CBSE schools. The row has brought under cloud academic ambitions of many plus two students of Jharkhand who wanted to graduate from DU.

“I was certain of bagging a BSc berth in Gargi College in the first two cut-offs. I was to leave for Delhi by Purshottam Express on Wednesday, but have got my ticket cancelled,” said Himanshu Raj, who scored 92.5 per cent in his Class XII board exam from MGM Higher Secondary School in Bokaro this year.

Himanshu is looking at colleges in the state now. “As a backup, I had appeared for the admission test at St Xavier’s College, Ranchi, earlier this month. With my percentage, I will get a seat. So, I guess, DU is off radar,” he added.

Ranchi boy Arun Kumar Mahto is exploring options at home too.

“I had a train ticket booked for June 29. I don’t know whether to cancel or wait. I scored over 91 per cent and wanted to study economics at DU. But, that seems a distant dream. Fortunately, I have also cleared the All India Pre-Medical Test. Counselling is likely to begin next month,” Arun voiced his desperate choice in these desperate times.