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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Maharashtra: Eager to reopen colleges and universities for in-person classes, says Uday Samant

Higher Education Minister Uday Samant said the plan to shift the Communication and Journalism Department at Ranade Institute has been cancelled.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: August 15, 2021 5:41:51 pm
Minister of Higher and Technical Education Uday Samant. (Photo Source: Twitter/@samant_uday)

The state Higher and Technical Education Department is keen to physically reopen colleges and universities in Maharashtra, Higher Education Minister Uday Samant said in Pune Saturday.

“However, keeping the possibility of a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in mind, the state task force has asked us to wait. That is why there is some delay in implementing this decision,” said Samant.

He said vice-chancellors of state universities have been discussing the reopening of colleges and universities with their local district collectors. A final report will be submitted in the next 15 days, after which there is a strong possibility that colleges will reopen, said Samant.

He was also asked about the fees of private and unaided colleges as many individuals and organisations had demanded that there should be a policy decision to reduce the fees. Samant said a committee has been set up under the chairmanship of CET cell chief Chintamani Joshi and once the committee report is received, appropriate action will be taken.

The last time he visited Pune, Samant had declared the dates for various entrance tests, including MH-CET. He said that many students were unable to fill entrance test forms due to floods in some parts of the state and after receiving their requests, the department has given an extension in the registration deadline for CET, but the other dates remain the same.

Samant also said the plan to shift the Communication and Journalism Department at Ranade Institute has been cancelled. The minister said a committee of officials from the Higher and Technical Education Department has been set up to propose a plan for the academic development of Ranade Institute, and the report is expected within three months.

The journalism institute has been in the news for the last few days following widespread protests from alumni over SPPU’s decision to merge Ranade Institute’s Journalism Department with the Department of Media and Communication Studies on the university campus.

Following the uproar, Samant visited the institute on Saturday and met senior SPPU officials, including Vice-Chancellor Nitin Karmalkar, representatives of Pune Union of Working Journalists, alumni of the institute and student organisations’ representatives.

He held a press conference after the meeting, where he announced that the decision to shift the institute has been cancelled, following which SPPU registrar Prafulla Pawar also issued a press note confirming the same.

On Friday, the university administration had issued a press statement stating that the decision to merge the department had been taken for ease of students and faculty.

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