Nagpur University, Maharashtra’s largest, is facing an acute shortage of principals. Of the 439 colleges that it presides over, 300 have neither full-time principals nor the prescribed number of teachers.
The Rashtrasant Tukdoji Maharaj Nagpur University’s jurisdiction spans 1,200 km across six districts in Maharashtra, and covers 3.4 lakh students. It has 193 aided colleges, while the rest are unaided.
For years, most of its colleges have been unable to find suitable candidates for the principals’ posts — they must be PhD holders as per government norms — and are, consequently, making do with part-timers and substitutes monitoring issuance of forms and examinations.
However, the university continues to add more colleges to its roster. Recently, 27 new Bachelor of Education (BEd) colleges were sanctioned, taking the number of such colleges under the university to 87. But, of these, 60 colleges have neither principals nor the required number of teachers. There are many Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Computer Management colleges that are functioning similarly.
Vice-Chancellor S.N. Pathan rushed to the colleges’ defence when contacted by HT.
“New arts and commerce colleges, which have no grants, don’t have enough students. These colleges cannot appoint teachers or principals due to lack of funds,” he said.
Pathan said he would call a meeting of all colleges when the academic session commenced in July to tackle the problem. A special committee comprising experts from outside the varsity would prepare a status report. “Then we will give the colleges time to take action. If they don’t, we will initiate action,” Pathan told HT.
When asked why so many colleges were given permissions if they were not in a position to maintain the required standards, Pathan said: “Permission is given by the government or the apex body concerned. In the case of engineering colleges, it is the All India Council of Technical Education and National Council for Teacher Education for BEd. For arts, science and commerce courses, it is the state government. The university’s job is to only give the affiliation.”
When asked why colleges were being given affiliations despite not being able to meet the criteria, Pathan said: “Affiliation is given only after a university committee visits the college and recommends it. The committee report is placed before the academic council, which must also give consent.”
Additional Chief Secretary (Higher and Technical Education) Joyce Sankaran told HT that the administration was aware of the problem. “The University Grants Commission has made it mandatory that principals should hold PhDs. Colleges are facing shortage of candidates with PhD degrees. Even government colleges are facing similar problems,” she said. The government is increasing the seats for PhD studies to tackle the situation, Sankaran added.