Student enrolment in universities on a slide
The universities and colleges in the state are witnessing a significant decline in enrolment. Information procured under the Right To Information (RTI) Act from three universities — Punjabi University, Patiala; Panjab University, Chandigarh; and Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Amritsar — shows the decline in student enrolment between 2016 and 2019.
Experts say lure for studying in foreign countries and unemployment are two big reasons behind the trend.
The highest drop of 15.6 % in admission was witnessed in GNDU where the number of students declined from 1,43,507 in 2016-17 to 1,21,074 in 2018-19. The dip in admissions at Panjab University for the same period was 11.4%. Against 2,10,169 students enrolled in 2016-17, PU had 1,86,208 students in 2018-19.
Punjabi University saw a slide of 5.8% in student strength — from 69,867 in 2016-17 to 65,796 in 2018-19.
“A major reason behind dip in admissions is migration of students to foreign countries for higher studies. The exodus of students is a matter of grave concern. The brain drain will be detrimental for the state in the long run. It is a failure of our political system,” said Amit Bhardwaj, a teacher from Muktsar.
“High unemployment rate is another reason behind the decline in admissions. Youngsters either fail to fetch a job or they work at meagre salaries after completing their courses. Students feel dejected,” said Ramandeep, a student.
Prof Simran Kang of sociology department at PAU said, “Unemployment is a major reason behind migration of students. Parents send their wards overseas for better prospects. This is not a healthy sign for the state.”
SITUATION GRAVE IN PRIVATE COLLEGES
The phenomenon has hit colleges more severely as compared to university campuses. For instance, GTB College in Malout town of Muktsar has no student in the second semester in four different trades of engineering. Faculty members are up in arms against college management’s decision to cut the staff strength due to less enrolment. Similarly, CJM College in the district has 564 students against more than 1,800 seats.
Harwinder Singh, chief administrator, GTB College, Chhapianwali, said, “Most of the private colleges in the state are running in losses. Currently, there are 164 students in our engineering college, while 168 are enrolled in polytechnic college. Our expenditure is much more than the income.”
Information procured under the RTI Act shows significant decrease in admissions between 2016 and 2019