Friday, July 05, 2013

Private universities find more takers in Delhi

A demand-supply mismatch for undergraduate courses in Delhi University has created a windfall for private universities and institutes in the region. This year, the increase in number of applicants hit a new high of 43%. Nearly 250,000 students have applied for 54,000 seats, and the admission process is still on.

Individual course applications spell out the discrepancy even more starkly. The university offers a centralised admission form where students can indicate their choices for streams but not colleges, while colleges admit students based on cut-off lists for different subjects. For Economics, for instance, the number of applications has more than doubled to 50,000 from 21,000 last year. For Commerce, it has gone up to 60,000 this year from 28,000 last year. "On the one hand, private colleges are increasing their seats and launching new campuses. On the other, government colleges have seen no increase in seats, forget about launching new campuses," says Shri Ram College of Commerce Principal PC Jain.

Private universities have seen demand grow manifiold. At Amity University, the number of applications is expected to touch 200,000 this year, compared with 150,000 in 2012. It has increased its total number of seats to 12,500 this year.

Sharda University too has seen a similar trend. It has 2,000 seats for undergraduate courses across various streams. The number of applications has doubled thus far to 20,000, compared with 2011. "For the past few years, the number of applications have been growing at over 50% year on year," says PK Gupta, Chancellor.


The reasons for this trend could be many, although a clear picture will emerge once the admission process ends by July 10. Primarily, the demand for quality education has increased. "We see that in the students we interview. People come from various regions of the country - Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and even the North East - and all they want is quality education," says Pradyuman Kumar, Officiating Principal, Hindu College.

Besides, private colleges offer more options. Amity University, for instance, offers courses in Built Environment (Real Estate and Construction), Forensic Sciences, Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) and a three-continent course, which gives students an option to study in London, New York and Singapore besides India. "This draws a lot of students who want challenging career options and good exposure," says Atul Chauhan, Chancellor, Amity University.

"We typically see a surge in the number of applications around July 10-15, when students get some clarity on their chances of securing admission to Delhi University," says Prashant Bhalla, President, Manav Rachna International University (MRIU).

Not every private institution is seeing unprecedented demand, though. As Sharda University's Gupta says, the sector is in the throes of a churn. "A large number of colleges are about to close down; a smaller number is seeing a surge in applications," he says. Nevertheless, the trend looks like it is here to stay for a while.

Source: The Economic Times, July 5, 2013

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