Maharashtra to get 131 new degree colleges in the next two academic years
Of the131 institutes approved by the state, 112 are Arts-Science Commerce institutes and 9 are law colleges.Updated: Mar 02, 2018 23:38 IST
Maharashtra is likely get 131 new degree colleges in the next two academic years, with most of them slated to be ‘traditional’ Arts-Science-Commerce institutes.
The state government has issued letters of intent (LOIs) to educational trusts that had applied to set up these institutes. They are now required to meet the norms related to infrastructure and faculty by April 30 if they want to start colleges in the academic year 2018-19, or by January 31 2019 if they want to start in the academic year 2019-20. The state had received around 900 such applications for new colleges for the current approval cycle.
Of the131 institutes approved by the state, 112 will be Arts-Science Commerce institutes, offering BA, BCom, BSc and other self-financed courses. Fifteen of these institutes are reserved for women, while three are night colleges.
With the demand for law courses increasing, the government has also approved nine new law colleges, seven of which will be under the University of Mumbai (MU).
However, the state has not approved a single new college for other professional courses such as engineering, management, pharmacy, architecture and teacher training college for the coming year, as these already have a large number of vacant seats.
During the last approval cycle, which took place in 2016, the state had allowed 60 new colleges to be set up, including 11 new law institutes. Even then, no new college for the other professional courses was added.
According to academicians, the new colleges will cater to the rising demand for higher education in mofussil areas of the state.
"As a progressive state, Maharashtra is bound to allow new colleges wherever there's demand. However, it will add to universities’ burden. The state will then have to devise other ways of creating more universities or sub-centres of existing universities to address the issue,”said SS Mantha, former chairman, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
While most of the new institutes propose to offer specific programmes in Arts, Science and Commerce streams, Arun Nigavekar, former chairman, University Grants Commission (UGC) feels that the new colleges should be made to offer a choice-based curriculum where students can pick subjects from across the discipline.
"The new colleges should also have technology-enabled education," he added.
The University of Mumbai (MU), which has 770 affiliated colleges, will get 22 new institutes. The varsity’s perspective pan for 2018-19 initially had 62 slots for new colleges. The new institutes under MU include two traditional colleges in Mumbai city; three traditional colleges and a law college in Mumbai suburbs; four traditional and three law colleges in Thane; and a law college in Navi Mumbai.
Ravindra Deshmukh, principal, Karjat College of Arts, Science and Commerce, and a member of MU academic council, said that sustaining new colleges will be a problem.
"While the colleges may meet the initial norms, they may not be financially sustainable in the long run due to the state’s limited state funding and the cap on fees. As a result, the students will get sub-standard teachers and education. If the government is unable to provide employment to these institutes, there's no point in increasing the enrollment," he said.
"I doubt if there's indeed demand for so many new institutes. Most of them are aimed at satisfying political egos," he said.