A University Grants Commission report has stated that a majority of 556 universities are not enrolling enough students’ despite of their huge campuses.
It has also suggested that some Indian universities may have to double their
student enrolment in the five years to March 2017 in order to provide educated and skilled manpower to meet the demands
of a growing economy.
“The 43 central universities, except a few like Delhi
University, are functioning with disproportionately low student enrolment
compared to the campus area. A 100% increase in intake is feasible in 30 of
these university campuses,” the report said.
Reacting to the suggestions made in the report, former
vice-chancellor of the University of Delhi, Deepak Pental said “Any plan that
looks at just increasing numbers is ridiculous. Authorities should not equate
number with quality, though we understand that a service economy needs to get
enough human capital to sustain the growth rate.”
The commission strongly advocates compact campuses. “The
concept of large campuses for universities needs a relook to increase their
enrolment at least by 100% of the existing number. Scarcity of land has
necessitated a vertical growth rather than horizontal spread,” the report
The commission in its report said that even if 50% of the
317 publicly funded universities increase the total intake by an average 30%,
there will be an increased enrolment of 200,000 students during the 12th Plan.
Similarly, if 20,000 colleges of the total 31,324 are
allowed to expand through special funding, it will also increase enrolment
The only hurdle in the plan would be the severe crunch of trained
faculty as the Indian universities face a shortage of teachers in the rage of
25-33%, according to official data.
The commission suggests increasing the number of teachers by
appointing overseas faculty and industry experts, and has recommended that they
be compensated adequately and not just paid meagre sums as honoraria, which is
the current practice.
It is also in favour of increasing faculty development
centres from the present 66 to 100 during the Plan period to continuously
engage teachers in updating their knowledge base.
Presently, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi has a
1,000-acre campus, but only caters to less than 6,000 students, according to
its website. The University of Hyderabad has nearly 5,000 students in its
2,000-acre campus, while the North-Eastern Hill University in Shillong, spread
across 1,250 acres, has student strength of around 18,000, according to data
available on their websites.