Delhi University vice-chancellor Dinesh Singh with students.After having attended lectures on Sanskrit translation, Amrita Arora, 19, spends the afternoon learning about statistical mechanics and electromagnetic theory. Her day ends with a quick session on the history of Carnatic music. This first-year student of Sanskrit (Honours) at Delhi University (DU) is,Delhi University vice-chancellor Dinesh Singh with students.After having attended lectures on Sanskrit translation, Amrita Arora, 19, spends the afternoon learning about statistical mechanics and electromagnetic theory. Her day ends with a quick session on the history of Carnatic music. This first-year student of Sanskrit (Honours) at Delhi University (DU) is just one of the 170,000 undergraduate students reaping the benefits of the new four-year degree.Introduced for the first time last year, the programme has seen its share of both controversy and praise. But despite changes to its course structure, this 94-year-old university still remains the best in the country. Its commitment to quality academics and student care is so reputed that this year the Department of Science and Technology (DST) awarded the university Rs 50 crore through its Pursue Grant, the highest amount ever given to any institute in the country.”The university has seen many new additions and achievements in the last year. One of our main focuses however, has been to increase practical and hands-on learning opportunities for students, says Vice-Chancellor Dinesh Singh. To this effect, DU now has a special agreement with the National Skill Development Corporation to provide students with training in the areas of health, IT, finance and banking. Furthermore, all 65 colleges under the university are set to get their very own incubation units through an agreement with the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises.These incubation centres will be able to fund each student business plan with up to Rs 12 lakh of seed capital. The university has also recently signed a Rs 26-crore agreement with Delhi-based government agency, Software Technology Parks of India, to set up chip design units. “The new chip production unit will not only equip students with key skills but will also help reduce chip import in the country. On the other hand vocational training, entrepreneur mentoring and interdisciplinary interactions will help students go from being just jobseekers to job creators. We’ve also added new courses which have a growing demand in the job market such as a Btech in forensics, he adds.advertisementDU has also laid special emphasis on extra-curricular activities. The girls football team returned for training to New Zealand’s Lincoln University for the second year in a row while the boys hockey team visited Edinburgh University for special coaching.”Our partnerships with foreign universities have also been on the rise. Aside from MoUs in sports, we’ve also signed a new agreement with Michigan University for academic exchanges and similar MoUs with Glasgow University and Belgium University, adds Singh. These agreements offer not just fresh routes of learning and networking but are also a lot of fun. “I never dreamed that I would get to visit Scotland. It was a wonderful trip where we got to make new friends and learn about a different academic culture, says Pallavi Mittal, 20, a second-year student of English.The vice-chancellor himself has had an eventful year. He’s received a Padma Shri for his contribution to the education sector along with honorary doctorates from the University College Cork, University of Houston, University of Edinburgh and National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra. And he’s not the only faculty member to have been felicitated this year. Vijay Chowdhary from the Department of Microbiology has been selected for the prestigious DBT Biotech Product and Process Development Award.”What really sets us apart is that we are not just a university but also a community. From assistant professors to research scholars and from part-time students to administrators, everyone receives the same level of support and encouragement. At this stage we are keen to hold on to our heritage while working to meet modern industry and academic requirements, concludes Singh.