With competition for admission to Delhi University’s 91 colleges very tough, even the slots for evening classes in the colleges are in high demand and filled quickly.
But despite the sense of pride and joy that admission to a college in the prestigious Delhi University (DU) brings, studying in evening classes comes with its own difficulties especially for female students.
“The area near our college is not that friendly for students attending evening classes. There have been a few occasions where we have been quite scared of the surroundings at night, especially during the 10-minute walk to the nearest metro station,” says Surbhi Sinha, who is a second-year student of English (Honours) at Satyawati (Evening) College.
The fear of students often forces teachers to wind up classes early so that the girls don’t have to stay up late.
“The professors are quite understandable and wind up the classes by 7 pm so that we don’t get late reaching our houses,” she adds.
There are eight DU colleges offering evening classes — Moti Lal Nehru College, Dayal Singh College, PGDAV College, Shyam Lal College, Satyawati College, Sri Aurobindo College, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College and Zakir Husain Delhi College.
Barring Shyam Lal College, all the colleges’ evening classes run till 8.30 or 9 pm. Shyam Lal (Evening) College’s classes end at 5.30 pm.
There are institutions like the Moti Lal Nehru College where the walk to the nearest metro station takes some time.
Kashish Wadhawan, who is in second year of B. Com. (Bachelors in Commerce) at the Moti Lal Nehru (Evening) College, says her parents often get worried.
“It takes 25-30 minutes from Malviya Nagar metro station to reach the college. Although e-rickshaws are available at the metro station, my parents often get worried. My classes start at 3.30 pm and go on till 8.30 pm. Most of the time, my parents advise me to leave the college earlier than the scheduled close so that I am able to reach home while it isn’t that dark,” she says.
Mohini Gupta of the Sri Aurobindo (Evening) College, another second-year student of B. Com, says that students coming from far-off areas face bigger problems.
“There is not much problem for us since our college is just five minutes away from the Malviya Nagar metro station. Also, there is a lot of security provided by the college staff as well as the police is on patrol duty most of the time. However, students who have to come from a bit far face some problem or the other due to the timings of the college. However, the professors are quite understandable and allow us to leave college by 7 pm,” says Mohini.
Leaving early, however, means losing on classes.
Aaisha Malik, who is a second year English literature (Hons) student at the Zakir Husain Delhi College (Evening) says that her parents are always worried about her.
“My parents are always concerned about me all the time and because of that, I have to leave the college much earlier than the scheduled closing time even though the college is just a walk away from my home. It sometimes causes problem as I am not able to take the late classes which go till 9 in the night. At night, the area around my college seems a bit scary and I always try to go home along with my friends and fellow classmates just to make myself safe. My parents also advise me to keep pepper spray and emergency numbers with me,” she narrates her ordeal.
Aaisha’s father, Mohammad Aslam throws some light on the matter and says, “I am always concerned about my daughter as it is quite difficult to keep track of all the activities. As a parent, it is my duty to look after her. I want that she should be safe at all cost. It is quite difficult for us too, as we think about her safety every day. If there are no classes or only just a class, we advise Aaisha to not attend college.”
Simi Rizvi, who is a professor in English department at the Zakir Husain Delhi College (Evening), says that despite the scheduled timings, they try to keep the classes at the earliest to ensure that it doesn’t become a burden on the students.
“I always try to keep my classes at the earliest, at around 4 or 5 pm, so that it doesn’t become a burden for the students. Most of the professors are concerned about the timings of the classes and we try to end our classes by the earliest. We understand the problems of the students since most of them come from distant places and it takes a lot of time for them to reach the college,” she explains.
Simi says it becomes particularly difficult for the girls due to the dark.
“For the girls in particular, it becomes quite difficult to attend the late classes. If there aren’t any classes, we try to inform the students prior to the classes so that they can avoid unnecessary travel.”
Karishma Goswami, who is pursuing B. Com (Hons) at the Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, says that the teachers are cooperative and supportive.
“The classes go on till 8 pm at the night but the professors understand the problems of students and cooperate with us. Sometimes they wind up at 6 pm so it becomes quite easy for us to go to our homes during the day-light only,” she says.
The nearest metro station is a kilometre away from her college but she says that the area near her college is quite good and relatively safe.