Hostel accommodation for students of evening studies at Panjab University? Not possible, you would say. And that has been the case over the years. But this may soon change as the university authorities have now decided to provide hostel facility for meritorious girl students of the Department of Evening Studies – Multi-Disciplinary Research Centre (DES-MDRC).
“We have decided to provide hostel facility to only a few meritorious girl students from this academic year. Last year, many students began leaving our department because of the lack of hostel facility. This is why we have decided to provide hostel accommodation to girls purely on the merit basis,” Professor Keshav Malhotra, chairperson of the Department of Evening Studies, told Chandigarh Newsline.
“We have over 1,500 students in our department, and we have recorded an excellent academic performance for the last few years. Few students have won gold medals, and even the grades of BCom students have been very good in the last academic year,” he added.
In the past, PU did not provide any hostel accommodation to the students of DES-MDRC. The department will still not provide accommodation to boys because as per admission rules, DES-MDRC provides admission to boys only if they are self-employed or employed. “Since boys have to be employed to apply to the department, they do not avail hostel accommodation. But for girls, admission is provided even if they are not employed,” Prof Malhotra added.
Rajan Shahi, a student of the Department of Evening Studies, said they had been demanding hostel seats for the last few years. “We have been protesting against the fact that we cannot avail hostel facilities. A memorandum regarding the same was submitted to the V-C last year. For now, the university authorities have agreed to provide a few seats to girls. We hope that even boys will avail accommodation in the near future,” he said.
As for hostel accommodation, Panjab University has already been facing a space crunch. Each year, there are about 1,000-1,200 students on the waiting list for availing hostel accommodation at the university.
Dean Students’ Welfare Navdeep Goyal said, “We will provide only 10 seats to the meritorious students. We have been facing a shortage of space, but accommodating 10 girl students should hopefully not aggravate the problem. The seats will be provided in Girls’ Hostel no. 2, which has a capacity for about 350 students.”
Warden of the Laxmi Bai Hall (Girls Hostel no. 2) Professor Navjot told Chandigarh Newsline, “Even though there is a shortage of rooms, we will now be making adjustments to provide accommodation to these 10 students since there has been a demand in this regard for a long time. The students will be provided with a shared accommodation only, as independent accommodation is given only to registered PhD students.”