At a time when claims of turning even the most backward region of Punjab into nothing but California are unending, here is a new survey that underlines the massive urban-centric skew. Only 3.71 per cent of students enrolled in professional colleges of Punjab are from a rural background, a Punjabi University Economics Department study has revealed. Reason: complete collapse of the rural government school education system and exorbitant fees. Only 2,085 of the 56,240 students enrolled in professional courses run by five state universities and affiliated colleges during the 2007-08 academic session had a rural background. The share of male and female students is 2.87 and 5.27 per cent, respectively. Of the total rural students, nearly 77 per cent were from the general category, 12 per cent belonged to Scheduled Castes and the remaining were BCs. The study — ‘Professional Education in Punjab: Exclusion of Rural Students’ — was conducted by Professors of Economics Ranjit Singh Ghuman, Sukhwinder Singh and Jaswinder Singh Brar. It covered Punjab Technical University, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Thapar University, Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET), and Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law (RGNUL). Individual institution wise data is worse: PTU has only 2.97 per cent rural students, Thapar University 0.30 per cent, SLIET 1.81 per cent, RGNUL 1.88 per cent and at BFUHS 4.27 per cent. The B.Sc Nursing course has a rural strength of 22.63 per cent. Even of these rural students, a high proportion come from educated families and only 1.5 per cent are from economically poor households The fee structure for an engineering course at Thapar University is Rs 1.2 lakh, PTU Rs 71,300 and SLIET Rs 47,200. For the MBBS course, per student annual expenditure in government medical college was just Rs 13,500, whereas in private medical colleges, it was Rs 1.13 lakh.