MANGALURU/HUBBALLI: While Bengaluru might be the most preferred destination for students, education in Karnataka is not just about the state capital. There are several education hubs across the state and many famous institutions that do not have a Bengaluru address.
Coastal Karnataka is also a popular destination for students, many of whom prefer the beaches of Mangaluru to the hustle of the state capital. Till a decade ago, Mangaluru and Udupi were famous for nursing colleges which drew students from Kerala, the north-eastern states as well as from across Karnataka. Over the past decade, this region has developed into a major educational hub with a lot more on offer.
With more than 20 engineering colleges, over a dozen medical, dental and Ayurveda colleges and several others that offer trendy courses like communication, aviation, fashion, ecosophical aesthetics, cyber management, and sports science, coastal Karnataka is not a niche education hub anymore.
Though comparatively smaller in size than other tier-two cities in the state, the coastal region hosts the second-highest student population after Bengaluru. According to educationist Mahabaleshwara Rao, this is due to the good eco-system and infrastructure the region provides. Compared to Bengaluru, the cost of education and living is cheaper here too, he adds.
“Unlike in other places, commercialisation is not a big menace here. They deliver what they promise, are quality conscious and pay attention to various aspects on a day-to-day basis,” points out Rao. For many engineering colleges, innovation seems to be the key to survive the tough competition in the backdrop of reforms in the sector. Colleges like Manipal, Nitte, St Joseph’s, Sahyadri and others have start-ups and units of industries in their campuses that makes the students industry-ready.
Further north, another hub is developing around the twin cities of Hubballi and Dharwad. The establishment of an Indian Institute of Technology and an Indian Institute of Information Technology have raised the profile of Dharwad, which has been termed the ‘VidyaKashi’ in the past.
Hubballi also plays host to one of the oldest universities of the state. The Karnatak University has produced numerous luminaries across fields for decades. The region has a good mix of private and government Universities offering post-graduate programmes in many streams and drawing thousands of students each year.
Besides the colleges and universities, the region also has a burgeoning number of coaching institutes, which prepare students for the JEE and NEET exams. This draws students from north Karnataka as well as neighbouring states. With living costs much below that of Bengaluru and comparable infrastructure, the twin cities are fast becoming the education hub in the north.
“Most importantly, the students will have none of the distractions of the metro cities. Hubballi-Dharwad is the most ideal place for students. Bengaluru is just a brand,” said Professor Ashok Shettar, vice-chancellor of the KLE Technological University.