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200 colleges,2 applications for autonomy

Even as the University Grants Commission (UGC) is pushing colleges to go autonomous,the response from the Oxford of the East is far from enthusiastic.

Written by SiddharthKelkar |
February 6, 2009 12:27:15 am

Even as the University Grants Commission (UGC) is pushing colleges to go autonomous,the response from the Oxford of the East is far from enthusiastic. At present,there are only four autonomous colleges — VIT,CoEP,IndSearch and St Mira’s — in Pune district under the jurisdiction of the University of Pune (UoP). Only two more of 200 colleges in the district have now forwarded proposals for going autonomous the next academic year.

The UGC had come out with a circular on November 25,in which it had suggested that the state universities should forward proposals of colleges that had the potential to seek autonomy. The deadline was December 31. However,even after repeated attempts to convince these 200 colleges,the UoP has managed to get only two proposals — from Fergusson College and Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce.

The number of colleges affiliated to UoP makes it difficult for the university to handle procedures and it was to minimise this load that the UGC proposal for providing autonomous status was seen as a viable option. The UGC proposal will benefit colleges as they will enjoy the freedom to introduce industry-friendly syllabus on their own,thus helping the students to become industry-ready. The new guidelines issued by the UGC also say that the autonomous colleges could start their own degree courses without disaffiliating themselves from the state university concerned.

“Though autonomy is an opportunity,the problem is that many colleges look at it as a hurdle,” said Vidya Yerawadekar,principal director of Symbiosis International University and a UGC member. “There are misunderstandings,mainly in rural areas,that the government grant will be cut after getting autonomy and there will be a problem of sustainability,” she said.

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The UoP has already initiated the process to clear these misunderstandings. Vice-chancellor Narendra Jadhav recently appointed a three-member committee,headed by Progressive Education Society executive chairman Gajanan Ekbote,in this regard. The committee has made amendments in the statutes of the UoP to motivate more colleges to go for autonomy.

“There is a fear that there would be restriction on the number of teachers and some of them would lose their jobs. According to UGC guidelines,there would not be any cut in grants by the state government and all the present posts of teachers would be maintained,” Ekbote said.

Board of College and University Development director Pandit Vidyasagar said there were apprehensions at various levels — teachers,management and non-teaching staff of the colleges. “We are trying to educate the colleges. We are appealing to reputed colleges that have the potential for excellence to go for autonomy,” he said.

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