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Worried about its "crumbling infrastructure", Delhi University's School of Open Learning (SOL) has raised a demand for special grants from government funding agencies to develop e-resources and IT infrastructure for the betterment of its 4.5 lakh students.
Executive Director of SOL, HC Pokhariyal, said the only way to cater to the demands of such a large number of students was to virtualise the learning system so that the marginalised sections are empowered.
"Facilities and funds for regular students must be extended to our students, who are mostly from the marginalised sections. Around 50 per cent of our students are girls who have dreams to fulfil. It's a question of the future of 4.5 lakh students," Pokhariyal said.
"Our dream is to convert the college into a virtual organisation. We are working to develop e-resources and IT infrastructure and this is where we expect help from government funding agencies. All we require is development grants," he added.
Students of the college also added their voice to the demand for financial help.
Shahnawaz, convener of the School of Open Learning's student's union, said, "There are 4.5 lakh students enrolled at present with only 30 centres of study. Whereas for a handful of 54,000 regular students, there are 80 colleges under Delhi University. About 450-500 students attend one class, which creates a ruckus every time."
Shahnawaz said the students want UGC to issue grants for the development of the infrastructure of an institute where such a large number of students are enrolled.
"Regular students are provided with every facility in the university whereas correspondence students lack even the basic facilities. We want UGC to issue funds with an estimate of at least Rs 40,000 per student," he said.
Students also claimed that only five courses are available for correspondence studies.
"As against the vast variety of courses available in the University, for SoL, merely five courses -- B.Com, B.Com Honours, English Honours, Political Science Honours and BA Programme have been made available. Even for those, teachers are most of the times not present," claimed Vipin Singh, who is pursuing Political Science (Hons.) at SoL.