The state will not add any new college or course in the next academic year, as the government has refused to accept perspective plans prepared by public universities, including the University of Mumbai (MU).
The plan is an annual exercise to chart out the future growth of any university. It provides details about prospective colleges under it for different regions.
While the state permitted a limited number of new colleges this year, it had decided not to grant permission to any new college in the state in 2015-16. The year before that, only one college was approved.
State government officials said that the current perspective plans were not in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Narendra Jadhav Committee, which had laid down the policy framework to prepare them. From the next year, the state wants universities to prepare a five-year perspective plan in addition to the annual plans, as suggested by the committee.
The four-member committee, headed by educationist and MP Narendra Jadhav, was formed last year, with an aim to bring uniformity in higher education across the state and to integrate it with the new national education policy.
In its report, the panel had recommended a ‘bottom-up approach’, where the educational and vocational requirements of a region were to be considered before adding educational facilities. The universities were required to set a goal to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of each district under its purview by 5% every five years, with an overall aim of 30% state GER at the end of the decade.
According to officials, the five-year plan will provide public universities with a long-term vision, based on which they could draft their annual plan for expansion. They also said that the varsities should survey the area under their jurisdiction and propose new colleges according to the educational needs of the area.
Terming the present system of granting approvals to new colleges as ‘rigged’, a senior official from the state higher and technical education department said, “The college management approaches the university and asks them to make a provision for their college in the perspective plan. The university obliges and the proposal is subsequently accepted by the government. This is not the way.”
The state’s decision comes as a surprise for MU, which was hoping to push for pending college proposals. “The state’s observations are partially correct. But MU is different from other state universities,” said a member of the committee that drafted the varsity’s perspective plan for 2017-18.
With the state legally required to grant approvals to the plans before October 31, the officials have sought the opinion of the law and judiciary department.