Studying in India: Is Pune Really the Oxford of the East?

India’s first Prime Minister, the late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, gave Pune the sobriquet of ‘Oxford of the East’ during a visit to the city in the late 1950s. So impressed was Nehru with the wide array of fine educational and research institutes in Pune that he felt compelled to give the city this label.

More than six decades later, Pune continues to live up to its rich legacy. Its high-quality educational institutions attract thousands of students from across India and even abroad every year.

To give you a sense of how famous Pune, ‘Oxford of the East’, is as an education destination, the current enrollment at the University of Pune, the city's mainstay of higher education, stands at a whopping five lakh students.

With 811 affiliated colleges covering more than 400 course programs in different disciplines, it has emerged as the second largest varsity in the country surpassing the much older Mumbai University.

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It’s not just the University of Pune (now called Savitribai Phule Pune University) that attracts students to its fold. The city of Pune, ‘Oxford of the East’, has several other deemed varsities and private institutions of higher education that are extremely popular among Indian and international students.

Why Pune?

The question is, ‘Why not Pune?’ Pune, Oxford of India, has everything prospective students want when looking for higher education. Here are some reasons that make Pune the central student hub that it is:

1. Options galore: From undergraduate to postgraduate colleges; from research institutes to interdisciplinary centers; from language training to vocational courses – there is no dearth of educational options in the city. Pune is home to some of the leading institutions in the country that offer a whole gamut of academic options between them.  Whether you want to pursue engineering or film and television studies, whether its astrophysics you want to learn or Japanese – Pune’s topnotch educational institutions will not disappoint.

2. Affordable education: One of the unique things about higher education in India, true even more so for Pune, is its affordability. Students in Pune don’t have to worry about spending pots of money or taking out huge educational loans for their academic pursuits. What makes education in Pune more affordable is the relatively lower associated costs like boarding and lodging when compared to metros like Delhi and Mumbai.

3. Steeped in culture, yet modern: Pune has always been the cultural capital of Maharashtra. The city is steeped in tradition and has a strong connect with local music, theater, art, and literature. Yet, it has embraced modernity with open arms and has chosen to move forward with times. It has been more than receptive to global influences and provides the right mix of tradition and modernity that offers students an enriched environment to flourish.

4. Academic fervor: As established earlier on in the post, the city of Pune,‘Oxford of the East’, has always been at the forefront of education and academic research in the country. The city has an undeniable academic vibe and an educational culture that promotes open thought and debate. It’s safe to say that the educational environment in Pune is among the most conducive in the country for intellectual development of students.

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5. Safety: Children in India spend most of their lives in an extremely protected environment. Changing from living with their family to moving to another city for higher education can harshly affect both parents and their children. Pune's reputation, or the reputation of ‘Oxford of the East’, as one of the safest cities in the country helps make the transition somewhat more accessible.

6. Cosmopolitan nature:Despite being rooted in culture and tradition, Pune is unmistakably cosmopolitan in its outlook. People from different parts of the country have made the city their home and you will see a healthy mix of demographics anywhere you go. A cosmopolitan environment encourages people from outside to come to Pune for academic and professional pursuits. The vibe in Pune is such that the city attracts more global students than anywhere else in India. Pune, Oxford of India, is home to almost 40% of foreign students who come to India for higher education! The Pune University and its affiliated colleges have around 14,000 students from over 102 countries studying here.

7. Facilities for students: Last, but not the least, easy access to facilities for students makes Pune the jewel in the crown of higher education in India. From accommodation specifically designed for students to student-centric eateries, from shopping malls to open spaces; from libraries to museums – Pune offers all this and more to its young population.

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Top Educational Institutions in Pune

Now that we know what makes Pune the  epicenter of higher education in India, let’s take a look at some of the city’s esteemed institutions:

1. University of Pune: Established in 1949, the varsity is home to 46 academic departments and 811 affiliated colleges. Prominent affiliated colleges include the College of Engineering, Pune, established in 1854.

2. Fergusson College: Founded in 1885 by the Deccan Education Society, FC was India's first privately governed college.

3. Bharati Vidyapeeth University: Established in 1996, this university offers more than 250 courses and covers all major streams of education.

4. Symbiosis International University: A private co-educational, multi-institutional university with 19 academic institutions spread over 9 campuses in Pune, Nashik, and Bengaluru.

5. Indian Institute for Science Education and Research: Established in 2006 to promote excellence in research and teaching in the basic sciences.

6. National Defence Academy: Located at Khadakwasla, just outside the city, the NDA is a joint services institution that trains young cadets to become future officers of the Defence Services.

7. Armed Forces Medical College: Established in 1948 in the immediate post-World War period, AFMC is responsible for training medical undergraduates and postgraduates, dental postgraduates, nursing cadets, and paramedical staff.

8. Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics: An autonomous institution set up by the University Grants Commission to promote nucleation and growth of active groups in astronomy and astrophysics in Indian universities.

9. Film and Television Institute of India: An autonomous institute set up under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of the Government of India in 1960, FTII is India’s premier film and television institute offering post-graduate courses in film direction, editing, cinematography and audiography, acting, art direction, computer graphics and animation, feature film scriptwriting, etc.

10. Centre for Development of Advanced Computing: C-DAC operates India’s most powerful supercomputers PARAM and Padma.

The list goes on and on. A humble, yet integral part of this growing list of respected educational institutions is Seamedu School of Pro-Expressionism, a media school in Pune. With its unconventional and modern outlook to education, Seamedu is one of the best media schools in the city. Learn more about us now and… welcome to Pune, The ‘Oxford of the East’!

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