A TOTAL of 36 colleges in the state have been found to be eligible for applying for autonomy of which 12 are affiliated to the University of Mumbai, according to data compiled by the government.
The institutes can apply to the University Grants Commission (UGC) and if granted the status, they will be eligible to get Rs 5 crore each under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA).
Some of the colleges identified are H R College of Commerce and Economics, K P B Hinduja College of Commerce, R A Podar College of Commerce and Economics, Guru Nanak Khalsa College of Arts, Science and Commerce and College of Social Work.
The colleges have been awarded grade ‘A’ by the National Accreditation and Assessment Council (NAAC) for at least three consecutive cycles. Colleges that have grade ‘A’ or a score of 3.5 and above from NAAC for three cycles are eligible for autonomy status, according to the UGC.
The state project directorate of RUSA has identified 36 such institutes and is pushing for them to apply for the status. “We are following up with these colleges to apply for autonomy with the UGC. Many of the colleges have shown an inclination to do so,” said Meeta Rajivlochan, the state project director for RUSA.
The state higher and technical education department, too, is pushing for autonomy for more number of colleges.
NAAC is an autonomous body that grades educational institutions based on their performance, curriculum, evaluation, faculty and infrastructure. An accreditation from the apex body benefits colleges as they get more funds from the UGC, RUSA as well as other central departments. Autonomous colleges will also have academic liberty to design their own courses and employ more teachers.
Currently, Maharashtra has 56 autonomous colleges across 13 non-agricultural universities, which is 1.3 per cent of the 4,374 colleges in the state.
For colleges to be eligible for autonomy, they have to be accredited by the NAAC.
However, in a recent compilation, the state government found that over 70 per cent of the 4,374 colleges do not have a NAAC grade. The University of Mumbai, which has 791 colleges affiliated to it, has only 17 autonomous colleges. Only 273 colleges affiliated to MU have NAAC accreditation. The university itself has not been able to get a re-accreditation from the NAAC since April last year.