After clearing the way to set up a private self-financed university at Pune, the state government is set to seek the legislative nod for four more private universities.
The state cabinet has cleared the decks for DSK School of Design, Symbiosis University (for skill development), Vishwakarma Institute of Technology (VIT) in Pune and Sanjay Ghodawat University (SGU) in Kolhapur, and will soon present the bill for Symbiosis University in the state legislature.
All these institutes are likely to start functioning in the upcoming academic year. This includes Dr Vishwanath Karad MIT World Peace University at Kothrud in Pune which was approved in the legislative Assembly and is now waiting for the approval from legislative council.
The universities can accommodate from 600 to 1,000 students each.
Around three years after the government paved the way for private universities by enacting the Maharashtra Self-financed Universities Act, 2013, six such institutes have been established in the state. The recent move signals the government’s inclination to provide space for private entities in the education sector as they would provide additional opportunities to the students.
State education minister Vinod Tawde said that the approvals for the five universities were pending since the tenure of the previous government. “The process for issuing a letter of intent [to the promoters of private universities] is quite stringent. We scrutinised the proposals and approved universities which had something unique to offer to the students,” he said.
According to sources, the proposed DSK School of Design will offer courses in animation, arts and fine arts, whereas Symbiosis University will be a skill development institute. Similarly, SGU in Kolhapur has proposed to offer regular engineering courses while VIT will focus on programmes on alternate energy sources.
An official from the state’s higher and technical education department said that the government is pushing for private investment in education as it feels that Maharashtra is lagging behind other states such as Rajasthan, which has many self-financed universities. “The public universities are burdened with a huge number of colleges and students. While various bodies have suggested splitting up of large universities into smaller units, the colleges are not willing to lose their association with a prestigious university,” he added.
Commenting on the development, Sandip Jha, chairman of Sandip University, Nashik, said, “There’s a vast difference between the curriculum of public universities and industry’s requirements. We have the autonomy to design our own syllabus.” Sandip University is one of the six private universities in the state.