The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly and Council on Thursday passed the Maharashtra Public Universities Bill, 2016 to provide academic autonomy to the universities in the state, improve their functioning and facilitate higher participation of students.
The Bill revised by a joint select committee of both the houses of state legislature was tabled by education minister Vinod Tawde and cleared unanimously by both the houses. It will now go to the governor for his assent. The assembly cleared the Bill without any discussion since it was discussed thoroughly in the joint select committee.
The highlights of the Bill are structured governance through a board of deans and directors in-charge of various subjects, restarting the students’ council elections that were banned over two decades ago due to violence, introduction of choice-based credit system for students, a disputes redressal system for students and a fee-fixation committee. The bill will be applicable for all universities except the medical and agriculture universities.
Under the provisions of the bill, each university will be governed by the vice-chancellor, pro-vice chancellor, deans of faculties and seven directors. Besides, there will be registrar, finance and accounts officer and director of sub-campuses of the university.
A Maharashtra State Commission for Higher Education and Development will be set up under the chairmanship of Chief Minister and with members from state cabinet, legislature, two eminent industrialists and experts from the field of education, science and law among others. Each university will have to prepare a five-year plan and get it approved from the commission, which will keep track of national and global development and accordingly ensure changes in the syllabi.
The Bill also provides for setting up of an Admissions Tribunal in each university to deal with disputes related to admissions.
It has paved the way for re-introduction of the elections to the students’ council in each college and university. There will also be a fee fixation committee to work out the real cost of delivery of each and every course and accordingly decide tuition fee and other charges or fee. It will be headed by a retired vice-chancellor or an eminent educationist.
The government will also prepare a Maharashtra Universities Account Code and all universities will have to maintain their accounts accordingly. It will be mandatory for them to audit their accounts every year.