Monday, June 20, 2011

Pune, 'Oxford of the East'? Think Again!

Pune is known for 'Oxford of the East' and 'Education city of India'. While University of Pune is sole body that administers almost all the colleges in Pune which are affiliated to it, there are numerous others. Well, I think it is 'Education City of India' but I am cautious enough to say 'Oxford of the East'.

Why Education City of India?

Simply because what it is. There are thousands of students who come to Pune for a single purpose i.e. education. While other larger metros drive folks not only for education but other things job prospects, family and friends, distance etc., Pune differs here. During some annual events, I have heard that education culture is bit old. Look at Fergusson College which celebrated it's 100th anniversary last year.  It's one of classic example.

One of the main reason it makes favorite among students is cool climate. You don't feel too hot in May/June. You don’t even think about it if you have already lived in cities like New Delhi or Kolkata.  Summer starts in June till September. Light rain, cloudy everyday. Everyone loves summer. Then winter comes in Pune. It's not cold. It's cool. You don't need to carry heavy jacket or sweeter. One of the best time to be around.

Another reason many students are attracted to it is size. Bigger metros don't provide the quietness and calm environment that Pune offers. Life is not as fast as Mumbai. People are simple. I think students like that. And yeah you get good flat/room/hostel to live in, cheaper than bigger metros. Some of the famous colleges of India are in Pune. Look at some rankings, Pune don't fall far behind. It is ahead of many bigger cities. Colleges attract students themselves.

I think these things make it 'Education City of India'. You are free to debate on it.

If so, why not 'Oxford of the East'?

Again, simply because it is not Oxford. Or let me put it this way;  it's not fair to compare with Oxford. Here number of colleges doesn't count. Weather that attracts students also doesn't count. Saying that here are so many top colleges is just showcase. Top doesn't mean great. Top means better than others. It means better than other colleges in India (Mostly on undergraduate level), not the world.  I think research is one of the integral part of university life. I find not much inspiring here. University of Pune has monopoly over colleges. It is everywhere in India that almost all colleges are affiliated to a big university. Government funds these mega-trusts. They are giving return as most of Government corporations do;  negative in proportion to resources employed.

Pune is not 'Oxford of the East' simply because it has no great college/university as Oxford. It has so many colleges all average that it has forgot to make some great one. Still, I think there are some very fine colleges than in other cities. Pune deserves a good deal of education share, but not the tag people use. That is too misleading.