With Maha Vikas Aghadi in power in state, Mumbai University’s bifurcation plan is back on the table. The new higher education minister Uday Samant has set up a committee for the creation of Konkan Vidyapeeth. The region currently has 83 colleges from Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri under Mumbai University’s jurisdiction.
To reduce the burden on larger universities, Congress-NCP government had floated the plan of splitting them a decade ago. The plan, however, was in cold storage for a long period. Under the Fadnavis government, education minister Vinod Tawde pushed for more autonomy for colleges for better administration of larger universities, such as Mumbai University. Several colleges with an A grade in NAAC were granted autonomy under the BJP rule and colleges under the same management were being allowed to form a cluster university too.
Samant said that reducing the burden on universities is just one aspect. “It is difficult for the administration too. The distance between the colleges in Konkan and Mumbai University’s main campus in Fort is around 650 km. It is unfair for people to travel all the way here. Also, it is a long pending demand,” he said. The department has already formed a committee to look at the technicalities. Higher education secretary Saurabh Vijay will be heading the committee, said the minister.
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The plan is also to offer courses in marine engineering and marine life as part of the university to promote local industries. The former government too had similar plans for colleges in Konkan, however, the idea was to offer courses under the parent university itself.
TA Shiware, president of Association of Non-Government Colleges (ANGC) said that students even in Konkan region may prefer to remain with Mumbai University as it has a brand name. “The university is known nationally and internationally and is very popular among students. Instead the government can plan a university for marine and tourism courses. It will benefit the industries in the region,” said Shiware.
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