Rumu Banerjee, Times News Network, New Delhi; June 17, 2005
"How do I become a counsellor?" The question hits you the moment you enter the Dean of Students' Welfare (D.S.W.) office in Delhi University (D.U.). It's where the admissions for disabled students are taking place and the enquiry is from Sharmistha, a visually impaired girl from Ryan International School . She says: "I want to work at the home for juvenile delinquents."
There are many like Sharmistha in the small anteroom at D.S.W.'s office, which doubles up as a storehouse for bulletin forms. On the second day of D.U.'s admission process, student counsellors could be seen fielding queries from anxious parents and eager applicants. Like those in the line trailing in front of the D.S.W. office, the students here too wanted to know how to get into the course of their choice.
One such applicant was Yamini Malhotra, who, with an 85% in Class XII, had plans of doing psychology from Lady Shri Ram (L.S.R.) College. Unfortunately for Yamini, the counsellors advised her against opting for the course. "They told me that the psychology course has visual components, so I shouldn't apply," said the visually impaired girl. Finally, Yamini opted for English literature. "I will get into teaching then," she added.
Talking to these students is an eye-opener. Many have come all the way from Bihar and Rajasthan. For most, studying till 10+2 has been possible only because of their parents' efforts. As Puja, a student of the Sarvodaya Vidyalaya in Tilak Nagar, said: "My mother made all the arrangements in school. She says she'll help me in college also." Said Yamini: "I want to do my graduation so that I can become independent and help others."
The problems don't remain confined to logistics. Said Anupriya, a student counsellor from L.S.R.: "Almost all the students I counselled today had excellent marks and could get into any college. But we need to advise them on which colleges have what kind of facilities." The most popular, of course, remained the elite colleges like L.S.R. and Hindu. Said Mahendra Pal: "I've applied to Ramjas and Hindu. My friends told me these two are good for the course I want to pursue." Pal's dream is to do an honours course in political science, as he wants to become a lawyer. "Or maybe I will sit for the civils [services exams]," he added.