THE Mumbai University (MU) has proposed 66 new colleges for the academic year 2016-17. The proposal is part of the university’s 2016-17 perspective plan which was recently approved by the Maharashtra State Council for Higher Education, the state government’s apex body for higher education, headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Last year, the government did not allow the setting up of new colleges and divisions. The 66 new proposed colleges will include 47 offering graduate courses, 17 offering professional courses and two offering postgraduate courses. This will also include a law college for women.
While the number of colleges under the jurisdiction of MU is set to increase to over 800, the draft plan does not mention the concept of cluster colleges – bifurcation of colleges into smaller units or clusters – which was proposed last year for managing colleges systematically.
The perspective plan which looks at the overall academic and infrastructural expansion of the university by outlining the number of colleges and streams required in different regions has to be approved by the senate and state government.
The earlier draft plan prepared by a committee, headed by economist and professor of economics at MU Abhay Pethe, proposed the splitting of the university into smaller units or clusters and categorising institutes based on their performance and introducing inter-disciplinary courses. According to the newly-appointed Board of College and University Development (BCUD) director Anil Patil, the new perspective plan is as per the guidelines issued by the Dr Narendra Jadhav committee which is applicable for all state universities.
Experts, former senate and council members, however, said that the splitting of the university into smaller units or clusters for better management was essential.
Pethe said the new plan looked good, but a better management system needed to be in place as there were a huge number of colleges under the jurisdiction of MU.
“The number of colleges affiliated to MU is likely to exceed 800 by academic year 2016-17, if all the 66 proposals are sanctioned. These colleges are spread across different geographical areas, leading to demands for different courses. A college in Mumbai and one in rural areas of Konkan cannot be compared. Hence, the concept of splitting the university into smaller units, according to their geographical locations, would have made management of these colleges easier,” said Pethe.
Former senate member Sudhakar Tamboli said if not into smaller units, colleges could be bifurcated according to sub-centres. “Apart from the two campuses in Fort and Kalina, the university has three sub-centres in Thane, Kalyan and Ratnagiri. Currently, these sub-centres are not serving any purpose. Colleges can be bifurcated under these sub-centres, according to their locations,” he said.