Maharashtra has the enviable distinction of having the highest number of colleges in the country, according to a report on higher education compiled by the University Grants Commission last month.
With 4,631 colleges affiliated to 44 universities as of 2011, the state is way ahead of Andhra Pradesh, next in line with 4,066 colleges. The report, Higher Education in India at a Glance, looks at the number of educational institutions, teachers and student enrolment in the country.
“Educational institutions flourish in states such as Maharashtra where industrial and infrastructure growth is high,” said Stephen D’Silva, head of Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management, Churchgate.
Despite having the most colleges, the state does not boast of the highest student enrolment figures. In 2010-2011, 19.55 lakh students were enrolled in state’s colleges while Uttar Pradesh enrolled more than 25 lakh students.
“UP has higher enrolments because it has a larger population. The living conditions and job opportunities in Maharashtra are far better than the rest of the country and our educational institutions are some of the oldest in the country,” said Snehalata Deshmukh, former vice chancellor of the Mumbai University.
The flipside to this trend is that every year there are several vacancies in colleges, especially in professional and management colleges. “Having many colleges is not enough. Students look at the faculty, management and other factors before deciding on a college. Quality plays an important role,” said Manju Nichani, principal, KC College, Churchgate.