While several reforms and initiatives planned for higher education are pending for long,state Higher and Technical Education Minister Rajesh Tope is hopeful they would see the light of day soon. Addressing the media on the sidelines of a public event in the city on Monday,he shared the status of some these plans.
Proposed MPU Act,2011
A special committee led by academician Dr Arun Nigvekar had proposed the draft Maharashtra Public Universities (MPU) Act,2011 which was expected govern the functioning of non-agricultural public varsities in the state by replacing the existing Maharashtra Universities Act,1994. Talking about its status,Tope said the governments law and judiciary department recently cleared the draft and sent it to the finance department. The draft Act is in process of getting formal approvals from departments concerned. Also,the state Joint Board of Vice Chancellors (JBVC) is scheduled to meet in Pune on August 13 where further consultations on the Act would take place, said the minister. On the report submitted by Kumud Bansal panel that has recommended measures based on range of reforms suggested in the higher education by three high-level committees,including that of Nigvekar committee,Tope said all the proposed reforms have already been discussed with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and a road-map is being charted out.
IIIT in Pune
Though plan to set up an Indian Institute of Information and Technology (IIIT) campus in Pune is yet to take off even after almost two years of its announcement,Tope foresee no problems in its speedy implementation. The proposed IIT is part of the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry scheme seeking to set up 20 such institutes across the country. To a query on administrative delays in identifying and acquiring the land for the project,Tope said,Land acquisition is not a problem. The district administration has suggested us two-three spots around Chakan for the project. The land belongs to the government. The project has a financial outlay of Rs 135 crore and has received a good response from private players to be roped in for the project, he said.
Opening pvt varsities
On the response the government has evoked to its latest resolution facilitating opening of private universities (self-financed universities),Tope said as many as five private players have approached the government to set up private varsities so far,with a few more expected in future. These private players will be allowed to set up universities keeping in view the detailed guidelines we have set, he said.
Tope said he is firm on setting up a separate technical university to keep up with the desired standards of engineering and technical education. The undergraduate courses will be governed by the separate technical university while postgraduate courses will be looked after by conventional universities, he said. Tope said Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Technological University (DBATU) at Lonere in Raigad district would be developed into a separate technical university. It is a landmark project and involves many stakeholders. We are in process of discussions and deliberations. The separate university would come up soon, said the minister.
University for visual and performing arts
On delay in establishing an independent university for research and studies in visual and performing arts as announced by the state government almost two years back,Tope said the proposal is all set to get an approval. The proposed university will come up in Pune as the city is the states cultural capital. As of now,we are also considering to set up the university within the University of Pune campus, he said.