The Vidya Vistar Scheme, which includes teacher visits, online training, skill development training, and student exchange programmes across colleges, was established by Delhi University earlier this year. In order to improve learning, 22 DU institutions will mentor 29 colleges around the country.
Through the ‘Vidya Setu’ Scheme we felt the need to mentor colleges in remote areas. The name of the scheme was later changed to ‘Gyan Setu’,said Rama Sharma, principal, Hansraj College, Delhi University.The Vidya Vistar initiative of DU has opened the channels of communication and exchange among academic institutions which has tremendous potential to improve outcomes given the absence of a level playing field in education geographically. The scheme is based on a premise that institutions have a lot to offer to each other thereby diversifying the pool of resources available to each partner of the collaboration. The scope of the exchange is not only limited to academics, but also on building a more holistic agenda that includes enhancing skills and employability along with developing an appreciation of the cultural richness that partner colleges have to offer. Given the paucity of resources, especially for a developing country like India, there is a strong argument for sharing of academic resources and cooperation among academic institutions. The Vidya Vistar Scheme is based on the principle of mutual respect, cooperation and sharing between two academic institutions.
Vidya Vistaar Scheme has been envisaged as a solution to tackle the skewed distribution of academic resources across the country. For instance, one of our partner colleges, the Government College in Drass district of Ladakh, lags in academic infrastructure and we are supporting them.”
Hina Nandrajog, officiating principal, Vivekanand College, Delhi University, says, “This practice of mentoring students and teachers will increase diversity and synergy. We are mentoring a Government Model College in Assam. We learnt that Pineapple farming was the main source of income of Assamese farmers. The Food Technology and Home Science department in our college is working on Pineapple farming to help the local farmers there.”
Pratyush Vatsala, principal, Lakshmibai College, DU, says, “Our college has signed MoUs with DHSK College in Assam’s Dibrugarh and Patkai Christian College in Nagaland’s Dimapur. This activity is about mentoring each other with knowledge exchange and resource sharing. Cultural exchange is also expected to take place through this scheme.”