This report on CSES study was published in The New Indian Express on 9th May 2011
Mushrooming of self-financing colleges in the state seems to be a blessing in disguise for the underprivileged students.
According to a study conducted by the Centre for Socio-economic and Environmental Studies (CSES), more socially and financially backward students are joining the sought after courses in science and arts streams as other students are opting for elite courses offered by the self-financing colleges.
The study analysed the enrolment pattern of students for various courses in 1999 and 2006. Making use of the data collected from six aided arts and science colleges, three unaided and self-financing colleges and two university departments under Kerala University, Mahatma Gandhi University, Calicut University and Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat), it has been found that there is a sudden surge in the number of students belonging to SC/ST and OBC/OEC communities for the conventional courses in almost all subjects. “The changing enrolment profile was one of the reasons for taking up this study. According to the study, there is a steady increase in the number of students who are opting for conventional degree courses when compared to previous years,” said George Zacharia, visiting fellow  of CSES.
According to the study, the financial aid being provided by the government as per the Kumara Pillai Commission has also helped these students in pursuing the studies. The students belonging to forward caste communities are also making use of the recommendation of the Kumara Pillai Commission.
The study points out some disadvantages also. “Though the sudden spurt is a big relief, it has its own flaws as well. The chances for high-level performance from these students are comparatively low,” George said.
“In such a case, remedial coaching in colleges should be strengthened to improve the performance of the students. The policymakers should do something to improve the quality of conventional courses,” he said.