30% of MU colleges don’t have full-time principals | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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30% of MU colleges don’t have full-time principals

Apr 01, 2024 08:44 AM IST

Of the 878 colleges affiliated with MU, a staggering 270 are presently overseen by temporary or ‘in-charge’ principals

mUMBAI Nearly 30 percent of colleges affiliated with the University of Mumbai (MU) are operating without a permanent principal according to a disclosure made by the university during its latest senate meeting. Of the 878 colleges affiliated with MU, a staggering 270 are presently overseen by temporary or ‘in-charge’ principals. Among these, approximately 170 have endured the absence of a regular principal for over a year, highlighting a systemic challenge facing higher education institutions as they navigate the reforms outlined in the National Education Policy (NEP).

According to the data, the percentage of colleges without a full-time principal has risen from 25 per cent in 2022 to over 30 per cent in 2024. (Hindustan Times)
According to the data, the percentage of colleges without a full-time principal has risen from 25 per cent in 2022 to over 30 per cent in 2024. (Hindustan Times)

According to the data, the percentage of colleges without a full-time principal has risen from 25 per cent in 2022 to over 30 per cent in 2024. Eknath Sutar, a teacher at Mandangad College in Ratnagiri, who has raised concerns about vacancies in principal positions within the senate, delineates various factors contributing to this. “At times, government approvals for appointments linger indefinitely, at others, managements don’t fill the positions due to vested interests,” he explained. “There is also the fact of colleges struggling to identify suitable candidates for the post.”

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Sutar added that the absence of a regular principal adversely affected institutes. “An individual juggling additional responsibilities cannot be expected to be as accountable as a dedicated principal,” he pointed out.

While specific categorisation of the colleges lacking full-time leadership was not provided by the university, a state government official suggested that a significant portion of these institutions likely belong to the unaided sector. “Most proposals for the appointment of principals in aided colleges were processed before the imposition of the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections,” he stated.

While grant-in-aid colleges need a no-objection certificate from the state to appoint a candidate as principal, unaided institutes merely require approval from the university. However, the approval process for college principals, along with teachers, has been marked by inconsistencies in recent years.

In 2015, the state government, in a bid to achieve financial stability, imposed a freeze on creating new posts and filling existing positions, including those of principals. This ban was lifted in 2018, permitting the filling of all vacant principal posts and 40% of teacher vacancies. However, in 2020, the state finance department once again halted the recruitment process due to financial constraints exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. A year later, permission was granted to fill 260 principal posts across the state.

Sutar pointed out that these revelations underscore a worrying trend in the governance of higher education institutions affiliated with MU, raising questions about administrative effectiveness and the potential impact on academic standards and student welfare.

Less than 50% colleges have a CDC

Less than half of the 878 colleges affiliated with the University of Mumbai (MU) have established a College Development Committee (CDC), which is responsible for giving advice on academic and administrative matters. MU revealed in a recent senate meeting that only 413 colleges have formed CDCs, with details provided by 393 institutes. The university has issued a circular mandating immediate CDC formation, threatening to halt first-year admissions for non-compliant colleges.

As per the Maharashtra Public Universities Act 2016, each college must have a CDC comprising various stakeholders. This committee is tasked with devising development plans, setting academic calendars and budgets, and addressing issues ranging from new courses to safety.

Vijay Pawar, a teacher and senate member, highlighted widespread negligence in the establishment and functioning of CDCs, pointing out that even the 413 colleges that have CDCs have them only on paper. “Most colleges do not conduct a single meeting of the committee after establishing it,” he said. Pawar has been urging the university to enforce compliance and ensure transparent operation of these committees.

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