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A study of 165 Indian universities shows a sharp growth in student numbers and identifies faculty shortage as the biggest headache.

Print Edition: February 22, 2009

The good news first: More and more students are enrolling in higher education courses across India. But getting students seems to be easier than finding teachers. Retaining faculty is the biggest headache for Indian universities followed closely by the need to update the curricula.

The study titled Universities of India 2008 has been carried out by knowledge solutions firms Dun & Bradstreet and Mindlogicx. Talking about it, Manoj Vaish, President and CEO—India, Dun & Bradstreet, said: “Universities have reported an 81 per cent increase in student enrolments between 2006-07 and 2007-08. Many universities have also initiated new courses aimed at meeting real world requirements. More students are taking up online courses than ever before.”

The study has come up with some key findings:
• The total number of enrolled students has grown by 81 per cent in the past two years. But faculty recruitment has not been able to keep pace. The pupil-to-teacher ratio changed from 1:15 to 1:22.

• Women enrolment increased by 100 per cent in the last academic session over the previous year.

• Around 20 per cent of the universities have the capacity to offer full degree programmes online.

• The number of students with work experience increased by 53 per cent between 2006-07 and 2007-08, indicating that higher education as a medium of updating skills is gaining among professionals.

The need to bolster the faculty strength demands immediate government attention. The revised pay scales that have been proposed in the new pay commission may just do the trick.

Dhiman Chattopadhyay

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