Mumbai: Five colleges in the state were accorded autonomous status from the University Grants Commission (UGC) on Monday. Three of these are in Mumbai — the Ramniranjan Anandilal Podar College of Commerce and Economics, Matunga, the College of Social Work, Nirmala Niketan, Marine Lines and the MM Shah College, Matunga. The other two are Pratap College, Amalner and Tirpude College, Nagpur.
These colleges can now function independently, without direct affiliation to the Mumbai University (MU) or any state university. However, these colleges will still be under the jurisdiction of the state government. Thirteen other colleges in the state too had sought autonomy.
Autonomy means the colleges get to decide academic curriculum, add new courses, incorporate practical instead of theory lectures, schedule examination time-tables so that it does not interfere with college events, and start new streams. Anushree Lokur, principal of Ruia College, said, “It helps us decide the number of courses, start new streams, based on changing trends and student demand. The examination time-table too can be scheduled so that it gives students enough time to prepare.”
The MU’s examination schedules often clashed with college events or other ongoing examinations. The principal of a South Mumbai college said, “Students often complain about university examinations clashing with their entrance tests for courses like chartered accountancy or company secretaries course. And then we cannot change the time-table as it is decided by the university, so ultimately students are under pressure to juggle their time.”
Colleges securing autonomy are also eligible for additional grants under the Rashtriya Uchhatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), a holistic scheme of the central government for the development of higher education. Those colleges which have a National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) score of 3.5 are applying for autonomy.
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