After the state government approved a limited number of new colleges in the current academic year, the University of Mumbai (MU) will push for more colleges for 2017-18.
The university, which is in the process for preparing its annual perspective plan, will try to get approval for some of the colleges it had proposed last year but which weren't approved by the state. In its plan for the academic year 2016-17, MU had proposed 65 new colleges, including 11 in the city and 12 in other districts. However, the state had sanctioned only 24.
The perspective plan is an annual exercise to chart out university's future growth. It provides details about prospective colleges for different regions under the university's jurisdiction. The plan needs the state government's nod before it is finalised.
"It is a two-way process. While the university prepares a plan according to its requirement, the government has its own priorities," said a member of the committee appointed by the varsity to prepare the draft of the perspective plan for the next academic year.
"The plan will include our pending requirements and proposal for few more colleges based on the research done by the committee," he said. As part of its research, the panel has assessed the need for new higher education institutes in various talukas under MU's purview, he added.
The university controls over 750 affiliated colleges, including some in Daman and Goa. The large area and huge number of colleges, coupled with an acute shortage of staff, often creates administrative problems for the varsity and ensure the quality of education. Over the past two years, the state had not approved a single new college under MU.
While it’s not clear how many new colleges the university seeks to start in 2017-18, the panel member said that the number will be less than last year’s 65.
According to Zaheer Kazi, a former Mu senate member and president of Anjuman-i-Islam, which runs several colleges in the city, the government appears to be considering the demand for individual courses while granting permission for new colleges. “In the past, many colleges that were not in demand mushroomed in the region. A shortage of staff has affected the quality of education in many of these institutes. It seems that since we have made progress in terms of the number of colleges, the government wants to consolidate the existing institutes,” he said.
Among the 24 MU colleges that were approved this year, 10 are law colleges and seven are night colleges. Many of these colleges are from rural areas in Konkan region.