Mumbai University members approach Governor against latest perspective plan
Teacher representatives part of the senate, academic and management councils of the University of Mumbai have approached the chancellor of all state universities, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari to share their dissent on the recent events at the varsity. This comes days after teacher unions addressed the issue of 74 new college site approvals for 2022-23 as part of the University’s perspective plan to the Mumbai University (MU) vice-chancellor and received no positive response on the same.
Recently, the MU announced the approval of 74 new college sites for the next academic year and immediately invited flak from several stakeholders. While many questioned the need for new colleges for an already overburdened varsity, which currently boasts of over 840 affiliated colleges, others highlighted how the approvals were given by flouting several university statutes and demanded that the university refer back the perspective plan.
The perspective plan is an annual exercise to chart out MU’s future growth. It provides details about prospective colleges for different regions under the university’s jurisdiction. The plan needs the state government’s nod before it is finalised.
“MU statutes mention that a special committee should survey the location and understand from stakeholders the need for colleges before approving a new institute in the perspective plan. However, no such physical survey was conducted. Approving colleges in a city that already is overflowing with institutes, especially for traditional arts, science and commerce shows zero research by MU,” said Tapati Mukhopadhyay, president, Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisation (MFUCTO).
In the letter addressed to Governor Koshiyari, members have also highlighted how approval of 74 new colleges is a 12.2% increase in existing non-technology faculty whereas the university law only allows a 5% increase. “What’s more is that several members of the senate rejected the proposed perspective plan when it was tabled in the senate, despite which the university approved the same,” said members in their letter.
The governor, in his role as the chancellor of state universities, can advise the university to review and revise the perspective plan. Members of the senate, however, said no positive action has been taken by the state Governor previously when a similar dissent letter was sent by members in 2018 against the 2018-19 perspective plan.
The university controls over 840 affiliated colleges across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (NMR), including Thane and Palghar as well as Raigad, Sindhudurg, Daman and Goa. The large area and number of colleges, coupled with an acute shortage of staff, often create administrative problems for the varsity, affecting the overall quality of education.
According to the new perspective plan, the MU has recommended starting 46 new arts, science and commerce colleges, 15 law colleges, eight night colleges and three women’s colleges. While 12 locations have been identified in suburban Mumbai, five are in the city. Once the locations are finalised, applications will be invited from parties interested in setting up the college.