The number of seats for self-financed programmes is not keeping pace with demand as more and more students are applying for such courses in colleges.
Data provided by the University of Mumbai (MU) indicate that the number of students applying for self-financed courses is several times the seats on offer.
In courses such as Bachelor of Accounting and Finance (BAF), for instance, only one in nine applicants (about 85,000 applicants for 10,000 seats) eventually got a place in the academic year 2014-15. Of the 1,36,000 students who applied for a Bachelor of Mass Media (BMM) seat in academic year 2015-16, only 18,000 got a place.
In contrast, the demand for aided courses — where the fees are subsidised by the university — is lower. About 1,00,000 students applied for the 3,15,000 BCom seats (three applicants for every seat) while the competition for Bachelor of Arts (BA) seats was less fierce — there were 59,467 applicants for 42,880 seats.
“Most of the seats in unaided courses are filled up, with only a few seats in the colleges on the outskirts and rural areas remain vacant. Besides, the data doesn’t include the admissions after September 30,” said Leeladhar Bansod, deputy registrar (public relations), MU.
Recruiters said t he self-financed courses offered students a better chance at finding a job. Usama Don, a human resources professional and corporate trainee, said, “These courses offer high value to your profile given that you are from a reputable college. The college you belong from decides the value of your degree. Hence, one must be very careful as to which college they are pursuing the course.”
While recognising the growing popularity of the specialised courses, MU officials said they have limited the number of seats to ensure better quality of education. “The reason for the gap between number of applicants and seats is purely because we want to provide quality education. The colleges need to fulfil certain infrastructure and faculty requirements to offer these courses,” said Siddheshwar Gadade, faculty coordinator (commerce), MU.
Experts suggested that the limited classroom strength for the specialised courses allow a better student-teacher interaction. For instance, the class size in self- finance courses is limited to 60, while aided undergraduate courses have 120 or more students in every classroom. “Nevertheless, the varsity has prepared a perspective plan, which provides for limited expansion of these programmes,” said Gadade.
Explaining the university’s reluctance to increase the intake for self-financed courses, Khoj Agarwal, a visiting faculty for BAF at several colleges, pointed out that the institutions do not receive any aid from the university for these courses. “As a result, they don’t have the requisite infrastructure and other facilities. And they are not able to show any progress,” he said.