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State to change face of education

mumbai Updated: May 22, 2010 01:44 IST
Kiran Wadhwa
Kiran Wadhwa
Hindustan Times
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In an attempt to reform the state of higher education in Maharashtra, the education department is setting up a slew of committees next week.

Several experts in the field of higher education such as former vice chancellors have been shortlisted to be part of the committees.

Three committees — one to amend the Maharashtra Universities Act, 1994, one to look into bifurcation and a state knowledge commission — will be formed.

“The committees will have to give their reports within three months so that we can start implementation,” said Rajesh Tope, minister of higher and technical education.

“The quality of education has to be improved to meet global standards.”

“If the reports of these committees are implemented, higher education in the state can be made more progressive,” said Tope.

Several initiatives cannot be taken because of the various clauses in the act that is now 16 years old.

The bifurcation of large, unwieldy universities has also been on the state’s agenda for very long. Nagpur and Pune universities are among those, which are being considered for bifurcation.

“Abroad, universities are individual entities with their own courses, curriculum and admission. We are still following an old system,” Tope said.

The higher education department is also setting up a separate technical university, which will be the umbrella institute for engineering and management colleges, and a fine arts university.

The state knowledge commission will be modelled on the lines of the national knowledge commission, a think-tank that will help frame policy and recommend reforms to improve the standard of higher education.

“The committees will give reports and will take decisions but implementation will be in the university’s hand. For example, the University Grants Commission has recommended the credit system but it has not implemented it as yet,” said Snehalata Deshmukh, former vice chancellor of the Mumbai University.

“The universities in turn are burdened with a lack of manpower from the teaching staff to the members of university bodies.”

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