Three departments score a ‘C’ in SPPU audit
The 21-member audit committee, in its report, has given a poor ranking to three departments namely, Marathi, Commerce and Geography
Shortage of faculty and poor quality of research are some of the reasons behind their poor performance
At the end of a two-day academic and administrative audit of all of the Savitribai Phule Pune University’s (SPPU’s) departments, the 21-member audit committee, in its report, has given a poor ranking to three departments namely, Marathi, Commerce and Geography. These three departments have scored a ‘C’ grade in the audit report with remarks to the effect that a lot of improvement is needed. Other language departments including English, Sanskrit, Prakrit and Pali have scored a ‘B’ grade in the report. There are lakhs of students in Pune pursuing Commerce as well as the Marathi and English languages at the SPPU.
As per the norms of the University Grants Commission (UGC), such an audit is mandatory every three years and accordingly, a 21-strong team of experts from outside the university conducted the two-day audit at the SPPU in November. The audit report focuses on the SPPU’s academic courses, research and various programmes held for students. The team of experts also visited the university hostels and the legal-, finance-, estate- and examination- departments to evaluate the situation on ground. A total of 54 academic departments underwent the audit in which the Marathi, Commerce and Geography departments were ranked the lowest with a ‘C’ grade; followed by the English, Sanskrit, Pali, Communication Studies, Journalism and other departments which scored a ‘B’ grade. On the administrative side, the examination- and university hostels- department scored a ‘B’ grade with the audit team advising urgent improvement. Whereas the departments of Chemistry, Physics, Biotechnology, Mathematics and foreign languages scored an ‘A’ grade in the audit.
A senior member of the audit committee said, “The reasons for the poor performance of certain departments include poor quality of research and shortage of funds. Considering the shortage of full-time faculty, the academic teaching too needs a lot of improvement. In several departments, basic infrastructure and facilities are missing which are needed for the students and there are no full-time faculties in these departments due to which quality education is not being given.”
The audit report highlights the need for improvement in the Commerce department as lakhs of students across the Pune, Nashik and Ahmednagar districts are pursuing Commerce at colleges affiliated to the SPPU. As most students take admission in the traditional Commerce stream, it is a cause for concern for the students if the Commerce department at the SPPU itself is in poor shape.
Prof Sanjeev Sonawane, pro vice-chancellor of the SPPU, said, “In the next two years, the SPPU will be going through the NAAC accreditation process, and to know the current status of our departments, we insisted on this audit for the sake of improvement. There are several departments that have performed well in this audit. Still, the departments which have scored a ‘C’ grade will be given attention and the university will take the necessary steps. A major problem is the shortage of professors and hence, we have employed some of them on a contract basis.”
As per the Public University Act, it is necessary to conduct an audit of every state-run public university every three years and accordingly, this audit was carried out on November 15 and 16 at the SPPU. For this audit, an independent team of 21 educationists from different backgrounds – some of them former vice-chancellors of the SPPU – visited the university campus.