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Why Pune university’s performance is better than Mumbai varsity

MU’s performance in the second National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) list was so poor that it was not ranked at all

mumbai Updated: Oct 27, 2017 09:39 IST
Musab Qazi
Musab Qazi
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Mumbai university,Pune university
MU’s performance in the second National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) list was so poor that it was not ranked at all(FILE)

Not just this year’s online assessment mess, the University of Mumbai (MU) -- one of the three oldest universities in the country -- has been battling various administrative issues over the past few years that have hit its image and dropped its national and international rankings.

Picture this: MU’s performance in the second National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) list was so poor that it was not ranked at all. The university was listed as one of the institutions in the 151-200th rank category, whereas Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU), which was established after Independence, was ranked 18th (10th among universities) and became the only state university to be featured in the overall top-20.

Pune has more than 700 affiliated colleges, while the MU has 774 colleges under its wing. The two universities have similar budgets -- Mumbai (Rs539 crore) and Pune (Rs678 crore). How did a public university in the same state with around the same number of students and affiliated colleges manage to outperform a 160-year old university?

Experts feel it is the university’s leadership and location that made the difference. “The University of Pune hired capable people, who understood the university system well. Many research organisations preferred to collaborate with the SPPU over MU, as it has had better leadership,” said Arun Nigavekar, former vice-chancellor of SPPU and former chairman at University Grants Commission (UGC).

SS Mantha, a professor at Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI) and former chairman of All Indian Council for Technical Education (AICTE), said, “Pune is the cultural capital of the state and SPPU has had academicians who worked very passionately.”

Moreover, the SPPU has always managed to mitigate, if not completely avoid, examination-related chaos and administrative troubles routinely faced by MU students and teachers. This is because, according to experts, the former has a more meticulously planned exam system.

“Compared to other universities, the SPPU has had very few exam-related problems. The examination time-table is decided six months in advance. The duties of teaching and non-teaching staff are well-defined and are conveyed beforehand. There are regular seminars and workshops to coordinate between colleges and to train the staff,” said Anil Kulkarni, state in-charge, Vidyapeeth Vikas Manch, a non-government organisation working for the development of public universities in the state.

Kulkarni said compared to SPPU, MU has fewer evaluators, which often causes a delay in declaring results. “We have observed that not many MU teachers turn up for assessment work. On the other hand, the SPPU ensures maximum participation of teachers by providing adequate remuneration to teachers, non-teaching staff, principals and colleges. The teachers skipping assessment face disciplinary action,” he said.

First Published: Oct 27, 2017 09:39 IST