Workshops fail to garner support for universities Act

The state government has received a lackluster response to the proposed Maharashtra Public Universities Act from stakeholders despite conducting several workshops to discuss its provisions.

Written by Dipti Sonawala | Published: April 6, 2012 1:27:10 am

The state government has received a lackluster response to the proposed Maharashtra Public Universities Act from stakeholders despite conducting several workshops to discuss its provisions. The officials from the higher and technical education department claim they had received positive response at the workshops though the feedback was poor on the website.

The government had formed a committee in 2010 chaired by Prof Arun Nigvekar,former chairman of University Grants Commission,to bring private and foreign universities under the purview of the university Act and to amend the Maharashtra University Act,1994. The Nigvekar committee had submitted the draft Act in November last year.

The government then conducted workshops to get feedback from stakeholders,which included principals,teachers,educational NGOs and college managements. The draft was then uploaded on the state government’s website,inviting suggestions and objections. “There is no point in submitting our suggestions as the draft is incomplete and has not addressed many issues,” said one of the principals who attended a workshop. Principals’ and teachers’ organisations have unanimously opposed the draft Act. In fact,they have framed their own detailed draft that will be submitted to the government by April 26.

“The draft had a lot of loopholes. While some of the proposals in the said report are good and can be incorporated in the Act,there are many points that are not appropriate,” said C Sadashivan,president of Bombay University and College Teachers’ Union.

The Act proposes to change the constitution of the senate. The new administrative body — Society Partnership Council (Soul) as termed in the Nigvekar report — will act as a bridge between the university and various stakeholders. However,the stakeholders are opposing this.

Sadashivan said most of the boards and officiating bodies,which comprise elected members,will have nominated members under the proposed Act. “As per the proposed Act,the senate would have only ten elected members from the graduate constituency. The elections to management,principal,Under-Graduate (UG) and Post-Graduate teachers’ constituency have been dropped. Instead,the draft proposes that two teachers and two principals would be nominated by the vice-chancellor. Primary stakeholders have not been given proper representation,” added Sadashivan.

“There will be just one senate meeting in a year. With less number of elected members and more nominated members,it would be a dictator’s rule in the university,” said Dilip Karande,senior senate member of MU.

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