Following a long wait, HSNC, the second cluster university of the state, was inaugurated on Thursday via a video conference by the Governor, Chief Minister (CM) and state Higher Education Minister. HSNC cluster university, an initiative of the Hyderabad Sind National Collegiate (HSNC) Board comprises KC College, HR College and the Bombay Teachers' Training College, Churchgate, as a public-private partnership (PPP) model.
Along with a state university status for the HSNC cluster university, the constituent colleges will be allowed to retain their grant-in aid and minority status. Also, the cluster university can curate new academic curriculum, courses and innovations. The proposal for HSNC cluster university received a nod from the central and state government in January 2020.
During the virtual inauguration, Bhagat Singh Koshyari, governor of Maharashtra, stressed on the need to improve skill-based education along with research. He said, "Cluster universities will enable best colleges to become centres of excellence. Students will get an opportunity to learn a new academic curriculum through these clusters. All stakeholders need to work with coordination, dedication and discipline to improve the standards of higher education."
Under the Rashtriya Uchchattar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), a holistic scheme of development for higher education initiated by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India, the HSNC cluster university will get 60 per cent of the Rs 55 crore grant set aside for each cluster university. This funding will be used for infrastructure, academic curriculum, courses, training, skill-based development, appointments and innovations in technology. The HSNC board will have to raise the remaining 40 per cent.
The aim of cluster universities is to provide new curriculum so that students can focus on art, music, health and sports fields, along with academics, claimed CM Uddhav Thackeray while inaugurating the website of HSNC cluster university. The CM said, "HSNC Cluster University should focus on offering choice-based courses in music, dance, art, sports, health and other subjects. Along with merit based education, we should focus on making education pleasurable and delightful for students through art, skill based courses and other fields."
This is the second cluster university in Maharashtra, followed by Dr Homi Bhabha State University, Mumbai, comprising Sydenham Elphinstone, Secondary Training College and Institute of Science. Uday Samant, state higher education minister, said, "We are taking efforts to initiate skill development while providing quality education through vertical universities." HSNC cluster university will be headquartered at Worli.