Teachers believe that serious students are keeping away from OU given the trouble on the campus

Has the image of Osmania University taken a beating and students refraining from the prestigious university? The drastic fall in applications for the OU post graduate entrance test is perhaps an indicator of it though it may not conclusively prove it.

But the fall in demand this year is quite drastic, particularly for courses in which OU has been the top destination for students for quite some time.

For example this year only 3,997 candidates have applied for English compared to 5,368 last year; 3,213 applied for Economics while 5,283 applied last year; 6,062 applied for M.Com while the number was 7,470 last year; 2,619 applied for Political Science while last year it saw 3,667 aspirants; 2,487 candidates applied for Telugu while 3,384 was the number of aspirants last year.

Science courses that have strong departments with acclaimed faculty and generally considered the best by the aspirants too have suffered this year.

Chemistry that saw 20,481 applications last year received just 11,765 applications this year. Similarly, Physics received 2,568 applications now while the number was 3,959 last year; Mathematics got 4,914 applications while 5,636 applied last year; Zoology received 3,515 applications compared to 4,904 last year; Botany received 3,293 applications compared to 5,062 last year.

Allied course of sciences like Bio-chemistry, Bio-technology, Genetics saw a drop of almost 50 per cent with only 5,254 applicants showing interest compared to 9,910 previous year. Even in Psychology, which is offered only at OU, has received just 261 applications compared to 388 last year.

“The response is all the more baffling as OU is the only option for some courses, particularly the sciences,” said a senior Professor of Science. There is hardly any other institution that offers these courses for students to choose, and teachers believe that serious students have shied away from OU given the trouble on the campus, disturbances in academic schedule and uncertainty over the exams and the academic year.

The Telangana agitation has definitely dented the university's image even among the Telangana supporters. “As a parent I would not like to send my daughter to the campus in the present circumstances though I am a supporter of a separate State. I am also worried about my child's future,” said Vasudev Reddy, an employee of APSRTC. More than the agitation, the constant media focus on the violence on the campus has hit it badly. “The threat of political parties of a continued agitation seems to have altered students' choice”.

The OU Director of Admissions, Prof. K. Krishna Rao says as of now 65,000 applications have been received for the courses offered in four universities – OU, Telangana University, Palamoor University and Mahatma Gandhi University – for which a common entrance test is being conducted. He says the number will grow by a couple of thousands as they are yet to get the figures from all the centres. Interestingly, Last year, 1.2 lakh applications were sold while 83,555 students appeared for the entrance tests.