On Monday, the University of Mumbai (MU) presented its annual Best College awards to two institutions in Mumbai and two from Panvel and Palghar, but the fact remains that most colleges affiliated to the university did not even apply for the awards.
Out of 740 colleges under MU, only 18 colleges — 15 from urban areas and three from rural areas — applied for the award. While most of the colleges HT spoke to did not provide a reason, a principal said that colleges don’t participate in the competition because the selection process is not transparent and they are not sure about how fair it is.
MU had constituted a committee which evaluated the participating colleges on various criteria such as results, add-on courses, sports and cultural activities and research. The committee picked Jai Hind College, Churchgate and MD College, Parel from the urban category while Pillai College in Panvel and Godavari Shyamrao Parulekar College, Talasari were selected from the rural category.
Explaining the reason for such few entries, an official from the university’s academic planning and development section said, “The colleges that have received the award once are not allowed to apply again.”
The award was constituted around a decade ago.
However, the principal of a college from the western suburbs said that he did not apply for the award because he had no “faith” in the system. “Ideally, the university should monitor the colleges throughout the year. The evaluation should be done in an objective manner, taking into consideration a wide range of parameters. It doesn’t seem to happen,” he said.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sena (MNVS) has criticised the decision to grant the award to Jai Hind College, Churchgate. The student group had filed a complaint against the college alleging that it was charging an additional fee for WiFi services on its campus, in violation of the Prohibition of Capitation Fee Act. The joint director of higher education (Mumbai region) had sent a show cause notice to the college, asking it to clarify its stand on the issue.
“How can a varsity accord the ‘Best College’ status to an institute that is harassing students for extra fees? It appears that Rajabai Tower (the university’s emblem) is bowing before colleges under the regime of the new vice chancellor,” said Santosh Gangurde, vice president, MNVS.
The college, on its part, maintained that it hasn’t done anything wrong.