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Maharashtra: As PG seats lie vacant, varsities plan undergrad courses

October 20, 2023
Ronita Torcato 
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.
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