All universities in the state might soon have a single regulatory body - the Maharashtra State Commission on Higher Education and Development - to help develop higher education from the stage of funding to appointing vice-chancellors.
Also, the traditional senate that has been the governing body of every university may be replaced with a Society Partnership Council which will only have nominated members, putting an end to the election process.
These are among the major recommendations made by a high-powered committee to revamp higher education in the state, headed by former chief of the Atomic Commission Anil Kakodkar. The committee submitted its final report to the state government on Thursday.
If implemented fully, the report, a copy of which is with HT, will change the face of higher education in the state.
One of the main recommendations for students is a three-component curriculum: core competence in a discipline, an inter-disciplinary component and a vocational component allowing students far more flexibility than the current system of one core course.
The report also recommends that the vice-chancellor have full charge of a university. "The VC should be the sole academic and administrative head of a university. A Statutory Advisory Committee should be set up with experts not connected with any body of the university to advise the VC," stated the report.
About the long-established election process, the report states: "It is the mature peer processes (involving peers from both within and outside) rather than electioneering that should prevail in a university. The committee recommends that elections should be done away with."
The report states that while peer process nurtures excellence, electioneering is a leveller that leads to mediocrity.
To reduce the burden on universities, the committee has recommended that affiliated colleges be granted graded autonomy and autonomous examination boards to look at each programme.
It states, "The quality of a university should be judged by how peers perceive it."
The committee recommends that the state increase the budget provision from 3.5% to 6%. The report also addresses research, multi-disciplinary study, industry linkage and other issues.