All roads lead to govt-run varsities

Affordability, conventional mindset make people opt for central universities

All roads lead to govt-run varsities

Why are state-run universities the most sought-after institutions for higher education?

Affordability of education is the biggest deciding factor, followed by the conventional perception that quality can’t be linked with money — a symbol of private universities. In other words, government institutions are supposed to be the best.

Educationalists say while many private universities are mushrooming across the country, some have even cropped up in the National Capital Region, students continue to opt for public sector institutions. The reasons are obvious — low fee structure, more subject combinations, and private universities’ apathy towards liberal arts.

Mohd Shahnawaz, son of a tailor, is a Delhi University aspirant. “My family can’t afford to send me to a private university. They take a lot of money. Their fee structure is very high, so I am trying to get into DU where there are many subject combinations. DU is also a reputed place,” says Shahnawaz.

Ajay Pandey, associate professor of a private university, says private varsities are coming up because there is a lot of demand. “There is a section of people who want luxurious education with all facilities. They don’t mind spending for it. Private universities are the first choice of such population.”

But then there is also a large chunk of people who can afford private universities, yet they prefer public institutions. “My father is a businessman. I am trying to get into Delhi University due to the quality education it provides. Spending more money is no guarantee of getting good education. The main aim of government-run universities is mass education, which has been there for ages,” says Sanchit Sharma.

“I never thought of pursuing higher education from private universities as everybody in my family has graduated from state-run universities.”

While public sector institutions claim to cater to the masses, experts say the number of colleges under government-run universities has not increased.

“No new college has been added to Delhi University. While the number of seats remains the same, the number of applicants increases every year. So what mass and quality education we are talking about? It is a rat race to get into government universities,” says Maya John, member of Yuva Sangathan.

Another reason why students prefer state-run universities is because private institutions’ main focus is Science and Engineering streams. “I want to pursue History (H) in graduation, but there are not many private universities that offer this course. So I have to settle for a government college,” Anuradha Kakkar. “Most private universities specialise in offering professional courses.”

Experts say school education becomes the basis to get entry into government universities. Students who come from economically weaker sections get left behind as the cut-off is very high. They are forced to pursue higher education through distance learning, evening colleges or satellite colleges, which have poor infrastructure and classes are not held regularly.

Those who manage to get admission in government institutions under the quota system also face a hard time as there is no remedial coaching in regional languages.

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