Maharashtra universities will soon offer a host of undergraduate (UG) courses on the lines of affiliated colleges in the state. This is in keeping with the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines for the National Education Policy (NEP) which wants universities to provide educational courses running the gamut from UG to PhD.
However, a key reason is the poor enrolment at universities for PG courses. Some universities have a mere 3,000 to 4,000 students on the rolls which is much lower than the enrolment in bigger colleges.
The numerical strength could well be depleted further after affiliated colleges commence offering one year PG courses along with their traditional four-year UG programs.
At present, only autonomous colleges are implementing NEP. Mumbai University currently has the highest PG enrolment and is scheduled to offer more five-year programs with multiple entry and exit options from 2024-25.
Shivaji University, which was the first to have a BA in sports and a BSc and MSc integrated program in Economics plans to introduce BA and B.Com.
UG programs will also help universities have a stake in UG syllabus formation committees, currently dominated by teachers from affiliated colleges.
Dr Nilufer Bharucha, Director, Mumbai Muenster Institute of Advanced Studies (MMIAS) and former HOD, Dept of English, Mumbai University, points out that “some departments already offer BA and MA merged courses and BSc and MSc courses. Infrastructure, teachers, labs, would be a major concern. “
Historian and retired college teacher Dr Kranti Farias says, ” I don’t think it’s feasible as higher standards will be maintained by colleges like St Xavier or Sophia. “
Affiliated colleges in Mumbai like Xaviers and Kishinchand Chellaram have been offering Commerce degrees for several years now in addition to their traditional bouquet of arts and science courses.
As things stand, Xaviers, Mithibai and Jai Hind are among 12 leading autonomous colleges which have been permitted to award joint degrees with Mumbai University.They will be empowered to start new certificate, diploma, undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD courses. Collegians though seem to prefer to continue studies in their comfort zones ( meaning alma mater) rather than switch to universities.