When we think of higher education, colleges and universities always come to mind. We always regard this institution as the source of supreme education and training. The world’s oldest university is the University of Bologna, and the first to use the term “Universitas” was established in 1088 by the Roman Empire in Bologna Italy.
The world’s priciest university, is Washington D.C.s George Washington University, with a whopping $39,240 on tuition alone, and Ohios Kenyon College with a price tag of $38,140. Now, the world’s largest university is neither in Europe nor America, but in Southern Asia.
The Indira Gandhi National Open University in India is the largest university in the world by enrollment, the university has 3.5 million students (yes!, my jaw dropped too, when I saw that number). Read on the 10 Largest Colleges in the World.
10-University of Pune, India — 493, 531 students
University of Pune or previously Poona University is one of the first universities to be established in India around 1948-1949. The Campus occupies an area of more than 400 acres in the heart of Pune, Maharashtra India.
Pune University is one of the most popular and often regarded as “Oxford of the East”. Pune University has been graded “A” by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council of India.
The University has over 600 affiliations with colleges within Pune, it has major research institutes and employs 293 teachers under its 46 academics departments. Almost half a million local and foreign students are currently enrolled at the University.
9- Tribhuvan University, Nepal — 500, 000 students
Tribhuvan University is a public university in the ancient city of Kirtipur in Kathmandu Nepal, it was named after King Tribhuvan. TU was established in 1959, it offers more than 4,400 courses and employs over 15,000 consisting of both teaching and non-teaching staff.
Tribhuvan University has five research institutes, four research centers and four research Faculties: Humanities and Social Sciences, Management, Education and Law. TU is funded by the government of Nepal and the country’s Prime Minister acts as the Chancellor.
The University’s primary decision-makers other than the Prime Minister are the University Council, Executive and Academic Council, Research Coordination and Planning Council. TU has affiliations with a total of 826 private colleges all throughout the country since 1980.
There are 373, 846 students enrolled at TU and in the affiliated colleges, this number increased by almost 500,000 in the last school year.
8-Ramkhamhaeng University, Thailand — 525, 000 students
Ramkhamhaeng University is located in Bangkok Thailand, it is one of the only two Open Universities in the country. Ramkhamhaeng University was named after Pho Khun Ram Khamhaeng, the king of the Phra Ruang dynasty, who ruled the Sukhothai Kingdom in the late 1200s.
Ram Khamhaeng was regarded as the inventor of the Thai Alphabet. RU is Thailand’s largest University and is open to local and foreign students. The University has two main campuses, in Bangkok.
Neophytes are usually enrolled at the Bang Na campus in the district of Phra Khanong while the other levels are at the main campus in Hua Mak, Bang Kapi District. Out of the 525,000 students enrolled at RU, 500,000 are undergraduates and 25,000 are taking postgraduate education.
7-Universitas Terbuka, Indonesia — 640,000 students
Universitas Terbuka, literally means “open university”, is Indonesia’s 45th state university, located in the city of Jakarta and was established in September 1984. UT has four Faculties and one Graduate Program that offers more than 30 Study Programs, including Master Programs, Bachelor Programs, and Certificate or Non-Degree Programs.
UT accommodates all Indonesian citizen regardless of age and location. The University offers wide access to education through open and remote learning by using print media (books, modules etc.), and non-print like radio and TV broadcasts, internet, audio and video.
UT also offers several tutorial options like face to face tutoring, tutorial by letter, tutorial by broadcast media, and through the internet. Students’ assessments include tutorial assignments, practical works, practicum assignments, and final examination (particularly for students taking Master Programs, a written dissertation).
6- Payame Noor University, Iran — 818, 150 students
Payame Noor University or PNU is Iran’s largest Open University based in Tehran. In the Persian language -Payame Noor means “The message of Light”. There are currently 31 provincial centers, one International Study Center in Tehran, and 485 local study centers and campuses all across Persia.
PNU offers more than 20 Bachelors’s Degree programs to Undergraduates, around 30 Masters Degree courses to Postgraduates, and eight Ph.D. courses. Students from around the world may also enroll through PNU’s International Study Center, provided that they speak and understand the language, the medium of instruction is the Persian language.
5- Bangladesh National University, Bangladesh — 1, 000, 000 students
Bangladesh National University is a premier university in Bangladesh, established in 1992. It is the world’s 5th largest university by enrollment. Currently around one million students go to NUB. NUB is located in the Gazipur District of Dhaka, funded by the government of Bangladesh.
The university is affiliated with all the colleges in the country. NUB is designed for advanced postgraduate research degrees (M.Phil. and Ph.D.). Bangladesh National University has been adopting the modern American credit hour and semester system since 1997, offering academic programs for Undergraduate Studies, Postgraduate Education, Training & Research, Curriculum Development, and Evaluation.
4- Allama Iqbal Open University, Pakistan — 1, 806, 214 students
Allama Iqbal Open University or AIOU is a public research university in Islamabad, Pakistan. The university is one of the largest institutions of the world for higher education with an enrollment of over 1.8 million.
AIOU was established in 1974, since then, Pakistan’s President have been the acting chancellor. The university is also Asia’s first open university which values distance learning, the engineering field, law, philosophy, natural science, anthropology, economics, political science, psychology, sociology, and humanities. AIOU has over 30 departments spread over four faculties.
There are five departments under the Faculty of Arabic and Islamic Studies, seven depts. under the Faculty of Education, the Faculty of Sciences has nine departments, and 13 departments under the Faculty of Soc. Sci and Humanities.
3- Islamic Azad University, Iran — 1, 900, 000
Another University in Iran, refered to as the world’s third largest university- IAU or Islamic Azad University, but often known as Azad University. IAU was established by ex-President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in 1982 in the capital city Tehran.
The university currently has almost 2 million students enrolled in more than 100 campuses across the country and also in other countries to name a few: U.A.E, United Kingdom, Tanzania, Lebanon, and Armenia. Azad University has reached an endowment of more than $20 billion which put the administration in huge controversy.
2- Anadolu University, Turkey — 1, 974, 343 students
Anadolu University was established in 1958 as Academy of Economic and Commercial Sciences and became Anadolu University in 1982. Anadolu University is located in Eskişehir, Turkey. It is government-funded and currently the second largest university in the world by enrollment.
Anadolu University is also the country’s provider of distance education, to educate Turks in rural areas. The open education program is reaching out to Turkish communities in Northern Cyprus and the European Union.
1- Indira Gandhi National Open University, India — 3, 500, 000 students
Indira Gandhi National Open University or IGNOU was named after the late Prime Minister Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi who was India’s Only Woman Prime Minister from 1966-1977 and 1980-1984. IGNOU is a distance education university located in IGNOU road, Maidan Garhi, New Delhi, and was established in 1985.
The People’s University is government-funded which currently accommodates more than three million students, making it the world’s largest university by enrollment. IGNOU has 40 branches abroad, in countries like the UAE, UK, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives, and many others. IGNOU, in 2009 was the first in India to offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in sign language.