The Maharashtra government has set up a three-tier audit mechanism for all colleges affiliated to the Mumbai University. In a first, colleges having major irregularities could face action and may lose their affiliation, said senior government officials. The move is a fallout of the chaos created during publication of results last year.
In line with the direction of Governor and Chancellor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, the state higher and technical education department has set up three committees to conduct academic audits of all 778 affiliated colleges of the university.
“After the results mess last year, we started analysing the processes and systems of the university. It is during this analysis that we came across serious gaps in the academic, as well as, administrative processes of the university. These gaps had spawned from lack of regular audits,” a senior government official told The Indian Express.
He said the audit mechanism will set in motion a cycle that will lead to improvement of the academic performance of the colleges. “Based on the audit report, colleges will be directed to improve their systems wherever needed. In case colleges are found flouting norms, coercive action will be taken and the college may lose affiliation,” the official added.
In April, Rao had directed the government to form a task force that would conduct academic and infrastructure audits of colleges.
The task force would also take appropriate actions against institutions having sub-standard infrastructure and deficiencies in teaching and non-teaching staff.
While the governor had suggested audits of all universities in Maharashtra, the government has kicked off the audits with the University of Mumbai alone.
A five-member task force has been appointed to probe the curriculum, subjects, departments and infrastructure, among other things, of the affiliated colleges.
The task force will measure these parameters against the benchmark set by apex councils, such as the University Grants Commission, the All India Council for Technical Education and the Bar Council of India.
A district-level committee, headed by the district collector, will assist the taskforce in the audits.
The task force will submit a report to a state-level committee, headed by a senior bureaucrat, within 30 days of the audit. This state-level committee will prepare an action plan based on the findings of the task force and recommend actions against the college to the governor.
The government has, however, not specified a timeline for the audits.
Agnelo Menezes, the principal of St Xavier’s College, Dhobi Talao, said that the audits would help improve the quality of higher education in the city. “While the taskforce can take action, I hope there is some provision for appreciation of colleges which are doing well. As long as the audits are done one college at a time and not en masse, there shouldn’t be a problem,” said Menezes.