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How DU is going out of its way to help students from conflict-hit regions get admission

DU postponed fee collection & even arranged internet facilities for students attending courses online from countries like Afghanistan, Palestine, among others.

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New Delhi: Delhi University made active efforts to help foreign students from conflict-hit countries to get admission last year, ThePrint has learnt.

DU enrolled 550 international students for the academic year 2020-21 and of these, 33 per cent belonged to conflict-ridden countries like Sudan, Tibet, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Palestine and Iraq.

According to officials, there was an increase in applications from these troubled regions in 2020, and certain admission criteria and rules were relaxed to aid these students.

“In this term. we have made an effort to help students who applied from countries where they lack opportunities because of disputes,” Dr Amarjiva Lochan, deputy dean of DU’s foreign students department, told ThePrint.

Lochan noted that the university began its first year courses without collecting fees from these international students.

“We understand that a lot of those from conflict-prone countries have been hit due to the pandemic and are facing financial problems,” he said.

The university has also relaxed the student verification process for them, which will be completed only after they land in India. According to Lochan, they have also arranged internet facilities for some of these students.

“We have a Palestinian student in Gaza who is attending our online sessions. We made sure she receives internet service from Beirut at her home during class hours. The turbulence in her surroundings is evident from the background sounds we have sometimes heard,” he said.

Also read: ‘Nothing stopped, except education’ — news of DU colleges reopening brings joy, anxiety too

Highest student enrolments from Tibet and Afghanistan

According to university officials, special consideration was given to the students because of the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in these countries.

They noted that in countries hit by conflict, the pandemic worsened an already precarious situation and this made access to education next to impossible for a lot of students.

“Our highest international student enrolment is from Tibet and Afghanistan this year. We also have student applications from North Korea, Palestine, Iraq and Southern Thailand,” Lochan told ThePrint.

He added: “Delhi University set a benchmark by getting applications from about 80 countries this year.”

Students from Laos, Vietnam, Suriname, Fiji, Netherlands, Germany, France, Ireland and South American countries like Brazil, Mexico, Argentina also sent in their admission applications.

Bachelors of Psychology from Lady Shri Ram College for Women and Bachelors of Commerce offered by Shriram College of Commerce are some of the most popular courses among international applicants, he added.

Foreign students can apply to the university either directly or through the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) — an autonomous organisation under the Government of India.

Student who get enrolled though ICCR get a scholarship and a fully-aided stay for the duration of their course.

In a previous conversation with ThePrint, acting vice-chancellor Prof. P.C. Joshi had noted that the number of international students has gone up in Delhi University since the ICCR stepped in to help.

Also read: Delhi University is now looking to open overseas campus in Dubai, Singapore or Mauritius


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