The Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) is yet to finalise its policy on designing courses for students of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. This was shared by SPPU officials during the senate proceedings held on Saturday.
“No draft has been finalised. We are still exploring all possible options,” said Rajesh Pandey, a member of SPPU’s management council.
Soon after the Union government announced the abrogation of Article 370 granting special status to J&K in August, SPPU was among the first universities to plan ways to expand its academic reach to the Valley.
Authorities of SPPU had even met with their counterparts at University of Kashmir in this regard. But as SPPU is a state-run university in Maharashtra, the possibility of setting up an off-campus centre was ruled out early on.
Two months ago, Ladakh MP Jamgyan Namgyal had visited SPPU during his maiden visit to Pune.
During the day-long debate on Saturday, senate members expressed their concerns about SPPU’s plans for students of the two newly-formed union territories, as the members felt that the university’s Nashik and Ahmednagar sub-centres were not getting enough attention.
Some senate members also raised doubts about whether the SPPU administration was considering redirecting its funds towards its proposed plans in J&K. “Neither basic infrastructure nor manpower are available at these locations. Since it is affecting the academics of students studying there, SPPU must focus more on the operations of its sub-centres in Nashik and Ahmednagar,” said the senate members.
Refuting allegations of fund redirection, Pandey said, “There is no such plan… the funds are not going to be diverted. We are in constant talks with officials at J&K universities on the possible options available for SPPU to run its course in any of their institutions. But no plan has been finalised”.
Senate members were also informed that the SPPU was attempting to bring students of J&K into the mainstream and a socio-cultural exchange programme, in this regard, was scheduled to be held in January.
Fee hike for courses
A heated debate also unfolded on fee hike, with the senate being divided on the matter. SPPU Vice-Chancellor Nitin Karmalkar said that a Fee Regulation Committee has been constituted to study the matter before arriving at a final decision.
A proposal to hike fees by 30 per cent for all conventional courses and 20 per cent in professional courses taught at colleges affiliated under SPPU from next academic year was discussed.
Allotting funds to colleges
Karmalkar assured that all affiliated colleges will be granted the desired funds for conducting various activities, including organising workshops, conferences and others. But he reiterated that the grants would be released only if the colleges’ proposal clears SPPU’s quality assessment.