With 811 Colleges, Pune University 2nd Largest in Country

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With 811 colleges, Pune Varsity Second Largest in Country

Pune University has grown larger than its much older counterpart in Mumbai. This year, Pune went on to add many more colleges under its ambit, thus emerging as the second largest university of the country.

According to the latest data from the University Grants Commission, Hyderabad’s Osmania University is the biggest with 901 colleges. Pune University with 811 affiliated colleges comes second, Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University a close third with 800 colleges, and Rajasthan University fourth with 735 colleges. The fifth largest Indian public university is Mumbai University with 711 colleges.

Affiliated colleges are the mainstay of the country’s higher education system. They enrol 89.3% of undergraduate students and about 72.2% of postgraduate pupils.

Pune University was established 65 years ago to reach out to students spread across 12 districts of western Maharashtra, but its jurisdiction was redrawn later when universities came up in Kolhapur and Sholapur. Yet, its biggest expansion happened recently when many colleges came up in Pune, said experts.

Planning Commission member and former Pune University vice-chancellor Narendra Jadhav said, “The growth has come about in the last 10 years. This growth is not by accident; it is balanced. Of all the foreign students travelling to India for education, about 45% come to Pune. Mumbai and Pune universities are not comparable.”

Just five years ago, the University of Mumbai had 531 affiliated colleges, with a student population of about 6.5 lakh, Pune University had 474 affiliated colleges with 5.5 lakh students, and Nagpur University had 375 colleges.

Biggest five Universities in the Country

  • Osmania University, Hyderabad : 901 Affiliated Colleges
  • Pune University, Pune : 811 Affiliated Colleges
  • Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharasj, Maharashtra : 800 Affiliated Colleges
  • Rajathan University, Jaipur : 735
  • Mumbai University : 711

Experts Favour Varsities with Fewer Colleges

Author and historian Aroon Tikekar, who has penned a biography of Mumbai University, said Pune historically was the seat of power and its university has had the advantage of getting “great vice chancellors” who steered the institution to greater heights.”Pune University is more progressive than Mumbai University, which is among the most conservative in the country. It has become sluggish and does not change,” Tikekar said.

Rashtriya Ucchatar Shiksha Abhiyan ( RUSA ) author B Venkatesh Kumar said more colleges are coming under Pune University jurisdiction because of better governance and quality. “It is heartening that there is proliferation of colleges in Nagpur and Pune’s rural areas. That addresses access and we know that there are resources for higher education to be truly inclusive,” said Kumar.

Most experts say that the affiliation system has “stretched past capacity”. Be it the National Knowledge Commission, the Yashpal panel, the recent RUSA report, or the higher education revival commission set up by the Maharashtra government, most recommended that universities be divided to govern smaller clusters of colleges.

The RUSA report said that the rampant rise in colleges affiliated to universities has led to the deterioration of quality of higher education. “The active university resources and systems are diverted towards management and conduct of exams with consequent dilution of focus on academic quality and research. There is hardly any incentive for the affiliated colleges to undertake any meaningful quality improvement programme in teaching and research,” read the RUSA report.

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