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Hope to see students back in college soon, but hybrid model here to stay: Miranda House principal

The cut-off will be higher this time as compared to the last academic year. However, students with an interest in Sanskrit, Bengali, Tamil and Punjabi may find a window in the BA programme combination courses at Miranda House.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi |
Updated: September 17, 2021 11:16:59 am
Miranda House Principal Dr Bijayalaxmi Nanda, in a chat with The Indian Express, says that the college hopes to have its students back to the campus soon but that hybrid model of learning is here to stay.

In last week’s National Institutional Ranking Framework’s (NIRF) college rankings, Miranda House went on to retain the top spot for a fifth year in a row. Principal Dr Bijayalaxmi Nanda, in a chat with The Indian Express, says that the college hopes to have its students back to the campus soon but that hybrid model of learning is here to stay. She adds that students have to be prepared for this as well as the multidisciplinary approach of the National Education Policy. Excerpts:

What can students expect in terms of cut-off marks for admissions this year?

The cut-off will be higher this time as compared to the last academic year. However, students with an interest in Sanskrit, Bengali, Tamil and Punjabi may find a window in the BA programme combination courses at Miranda House.

What has the experience of teaching and learning been during the pandemic? How has the college adapted to the change?

The Covid-19 restrictions have changed the face of education globally, and the challenges have brought in a focus towards online learning. We do strive to improve accessibility and inclusion as much as we can. Delhi University brought in online admissions and examinations. We are functioning on a principle of “anti-fragility”, which means learning and growing from crisis and disruptions. We have widened our internet connectivity and are striving to connect with each student by enhancing our support through providing them digital devices. We have also emphasised on blended learning in every way and have been able to connect nationally and globally with academicians and experts.

However, the feeling of being in a vibrant campus can never be substituted. We hope that with complete vaccination and SOPs, we will be able to have our students back soon. Our libraries and labs are operating at minimum capacity. But I believe this blended mode of learning is here to stay as education does benefit by it. Also, our student volunteers did an excellent job of running a Covid helpdesk during the second wave which supported many in the city. A testing facility was also set up inside the campus. We worked on skill development, especially mask making and distribution, for our community outreach programmes like the “Unnat Bharat Abhiyan”. The college was alert to the needs of mental health counselling services for students and has tried its best to support the same.

Could you tell us a little bit about the college and the courses it offers?

Miranda House is a DU-constituent college established in 1948 and has a rich legacy of having contributed to women’s education in India. The college has a wide number of courses, including humanities, social sciences, B.El.Ed, and modern Indian languages. We also provide add-on courses on foreign languages and courses related to medical biotechnology, nano chemistry, data science and analytics. Capacity building workshops to enhance research skills of students as well as skill development are our new focus areas.

What are some of the unique things about the college that students might be interested in?

The beautiful historical ambience, the environmentally conscious surroundings and the bond with the sensitive and erudite faculty. The college offers top facilities in the form of learning labs for undergraduate research, policy labs, incubation centres, support of the placement cell and a very vibrant range of co-curricular, extra-curricular and extension activities.

Any words on what the new batch of students can expect in a university that has changed with the pandemic?

The young people are resilient and products of this learning system that has evolved owing to the pandemic. In a sense, they are already prepared.

My primary message to them is to first protect themselves by getting vaccinated. Secondly, they should be prepared to learn new skills. The National Education Policy will unfold new and comprehensive learning soon. A holistic and multidisciplinary learning environment will give them many opportunities and they must prepare themselves to make the most of this. We, as an educational institution, will be the facilitators in this dynamic process.

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