By: Vijay Kumar Verma, Group Editor-ICN World
SHIMLA: With as many as 10 universities out of a total 17 private universities in the entire state, Solan district of Himachal Pradesh has the dubious distinction of being the largest educational hub offering vocational degrees, not only in the state but also in the entire country. What to talk of the district, the Solan town itself has four universities in a close proximity of few kilometers.
In addition, Himachal Pradesh has 4 State Universities, 1 Central University and 1 Indian Institution of Technology as well. The tiny hill state with a population of less than 70 lacs has the largest density of universities in the country.
The adjoining state of Haryana has 18 private universities while Punjab has only 12 such universities. Then how come these universities, some of which having student enrollments of less than many colleges, turn financially viable and economically feasible is anyone’s guess. One of these university claims to have enrolled a large number of oversees students. The Admission Director plays on the educational grants of those countries, mostly african, to garner admissions.
The USP of some of these Universities is their hilly location and serene surroundings. They offer climatic superiority over other universities in neighboring states. Admission criteria in many of these universities is just on the basis of scores in board examinations with little concern to admission tests viz. AIEEE etc. With comparatively high fee structures they also offer scholarships to students with better than average scores. The campus selections are often stage managed and the once in a blue moon high salary off take instance becomes the iconic example.
Of the 255 private universities recognised by the University Grants Commission in the country however Rajasthan with 40 + universities tops the list while the country’s largest state Uttar Pradesh has only 24 such universities. Still there are some states which has no such university while three have only one university each. It appears that it is easier to obtain UGC recognition than getting affiliation to a government university, thanks to the blessings of concerned state governments.