The half of the undergraduate engineering seats in the state are with Pune and Mumbai Universities dispelling a huge regional imbalance in the field of technical education.
Out of nearly 1,52,000 seats in Maharashtra, nearly 33% (50,550) are available with the colleges affiliated with the Pune University (PU) and 17% (26,540) in the colleges affilaited with MU, states the statistics of the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE). Gondwana varsity has got only 2,000 seats (less than a percent) .
There are 360 engineering colleges in the state affiliated to 12 universities. Of these, 116 colleges are affiliated to PU, including Ahmednagar (13) and Nashik (17). MU has over 65 engineering colleges spanning through Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts.
A DTE official said, "The charm for Pune and Mumbai University has been growing for the past many years. The trend can be attributed to the fact that Pune is an educational and industrial hub and Mumbai is the financial capital."
"Being closer to Mumbai and Pune, helps affiliates institutes to have better industry links and placement opportunities," said CS Kulkarni, professor, Thadomal Shahani Engineering College.
Several unaided colleges have come up in the outskirts of these two cities in the past decade. However, no efforts have been made by either the government or the varsities to address the regional imbalance.
"The Marathwada region has a floating population with people migrating to Pune for education. Same is the case for Solapur and Osmanabad districts from where people prefer to go to either Kolhapur or Pune, for higher education," said prof Kulkarni. This not only burdens the two varsities but also hampers the growth of other regions in the state.
There is another kind of imbalance that has been observed. "Colleges located in the outskirts of the cities find it difficult to fill the seats despite having having high intake capacities." Across the state, 40,000 seats could not be filled last year. Even 15,000 engineering seats in PU remained vacant in 2013-14, of which most of them are said to be in the outskirts," added prof Kulkarni.