Admissions to Dr Homi Bhabha State University, the state’s first cluster university, will start from the current academic year. Four colleges earlier under Mumbai University (MU) – Elphinstone College, Sydenham College, Secondary Training College and Institute of Science – will be part of the cluster university. The Institute of Science will be the main college.
Students currently enrolled in the four colleges will remain part of MU till they graduate. But students admitted in the current academic year to these colleges will come under the cluster university.
Students applying to these colleges will have more options in terms of electives and subjects in the choice-based credit system. Being a cluster university, students can go from one member college to another to complete their credits. Fees will be same as that in aided colleges. The colleges can also exchange faculty and share infrastructure.
MU Vice Chancellor Dr Suhas Pednekar has been given temporary charge as Vice Chancellor of the cluster university, which he accepted on Tuesday. Dr Pednekar has been given the charge for one year or until a new Vice Chancellor is appointed, whichever is earlier. Members to the governing council will be appointed through nominations. Principals of the participating colleges will be deans of the university.
Presently, only those seeking first-year admissions to undergraduate courses will be eligible to apply to the university. The dates of the admission process will be announced around the same time announcements are made for MU admissions. There will be a different prospectus for each college but with a common brief, said Dr Pednekar. Curriculum will be formed after formation of Board of Studies.
“The functioning of MU is vast in terms of affiliated colleges, students and geographical area… In order to have an inclusive approach, the benchmark is often pulled down. Introducing changes in MU takes time. When thinking of bringing changes, we need to figure whether it will suit all its students coming from urban, semi-urban, rural, semi-rural and tribal areas. Given that this cluster university will be small and manageable, it will allow us to increase horizontal mobility and bring an interdisciplinary approach. It will also lead to an increase in research output,” said Dr Pednekar, adding that the emphasis will be to promote skill development.
The university will not have a Senate, rather a General Council, and will not have a Pro Vice Chancellor, said Dr Pednekar. “MU doesn’t have certain PG departments which this university does, such as PG in Zoology, Biochemistry, Botany and Microbiology. Hence there is greater scope to add new programmes as per the need in the outside world,” he added.
“We are looking to introduce integrated degrees spanning four years such as BA-BEd and BSc-BEd,” said Dr B G Khade of Secondary Training College.
Cluster universities, under which there will be a group of colleges, aim to reduce the burden on MU.