In a bid to avoid a clash between college examinations and extra-curricular activities, a new law may require state universities to conduct separate examinations on separate days for students participating in sports competitions and activities under the National Service Scheme (NSS).
The proposed rule is one of many additions to an earlier draft of the new universities act, made by a joint committee of state legislators from various political parties, who were tasked with preparing the final draft of the act. The committee’s proposed amendments were scheduled to be discussed in the state legislature on Tuesday,during its ongoing winter session in Nagpur. However, owing to a lack of time, the deliberations were postponed till Wednesday. Once approved, these amendments will make their way to the Maharashtra Public Universities Act, which is expected to become a law during this session.
If the latest draft of the act is approved in its current format, the examination departments at state universities will have to conduct separate examinations for the students engaged in sports or NSS activities. “The committee decided to add this provision to the bill, after realising that many students suffer due to the overlapping schedule of examinations and sports competitions or NSS activities,” said an aide to education minister Vinod Tawde.
The committee has also recommended setting up a five-member advisory council at each university on the lines of the Board of Governors at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) and other central universities. The body, which will consist of eminent scientists, industrialists, academicians and social reformers, will be tasked with devising a road map for varsities.
“We wanted to have a separate advisory body because the experts who constitute the body are not able to put forward their ideas in the management council and other bodies owing to internal politics. If they are part of existing statutory bodies, their time will be wasted,” he added.
Tawde’s aide clarified that the management council will not be subservient to advisory council, as its role is only advisory.
The committee has also recommended adding provisions directing universities to implement (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights & Full Participation) Act of 1995, Supreme Court’s Vishakha guidelines of 1997, which pertain to sexual harassment of women, and other guidelines set by University Grants Commission (UGC).
The panel has also proposed amending the current procedure for starting new colleges, making it a two-year long process instead of the current year-long process. “Under the present system, the management develops the infrastructure and then seeks the permission to start the college. When they don’t get the permission, either the infrastructure is wasted or the management pressurises the government into granting approval. Now the select colleges will get a letter of intent, following which they will develop the infrastructure,” said the aide to Tawde.