Sixty out of 64 engineering colleges affiliated to Mumbai University are unfit to function. These colleges had received temporary affiliation from the varsity a few years back on condition it must be renewed every year. However, these institutions continued to function on lapsed affiliation, some dating back to 2008-09.
This shocking revelations came on June 25 in a reply to an RTI filed by a Mumbai-based NGO, Citizen Forum For Sanctity in Educational System (CFSES).
Temporary affiliation is given to those institutes which don't comply with the basic norms of infrastructure, faculty and occupation certificate as mandated under varsity rules. Non-renewal of the same indicates the university's extreme callous approach at the stake of students' career.
The RTI also reveals that the university, which is supposed to send a local inspection committee (LIC) to inspect the colleges to confirm whether they are complying with the norms, didn't bother to send a single LIC to any of the 64 colleges since 2011-12. In some cases, LIC visited the colleges but no report was submitted to MU.
For instance, Vishwaniketan's Institute of Management Entrepreneurship and Engineering Technology, Khalapur (Raigad), was established in 2013. Despite not receiving the LIC report, the university approved affiliation to the college.
In another instance, Watumall Engineering College, Worli, and KJ Somaiya College, Ghatkopar, were granted temporary affiliation for 2008-09. Anjuman-I-Islam College of Engineering, Byculla, got a temporary affiliation in 2009-10. There has been no subsequent LIC visits but these colleges continue to function without affiliation.
"It's shocking that 60-65 engineering institutes continue to function without affiliation for so many years. The Directorate of Technical Education also allows them to participate in its online admission process and the Shikshan Shulk Samiti, each year, increases their fees. This not only exposes the callousness of MU but also indicates a nexus among officials of private institutes, University and DTE," says Subhash Athawale, a member of CFSES.
According to varsity rules, the process for granting affiliation starts after the LIC report is received. It is then placed before the Board of College and University Development (BUCD) and goes to the academic council. Only if the council gives a nod, affiliation is granted.
"If there was no LIC report, what was placed before the BCUD and the academic council?" said Vaibhav Narawade, professor of a city based engineering college who is also a member of CFSES.
MU registrar MA Khan said, "These colleges were not having approval is old news. We have sent LIC to all colleges during April-May. All LIC reports were placed before the Academic Council in June, which granted the temporary approval to all engineering institutes barring five which had come deficiencies."
When told that the RTI reply which contradicts his claims and states no LIC visited any engineering colleges and their temporary approval was also not extended after 2011, came on June 25, Khan claimed: "The information officer might have given wrong information in the RTI reply."
When asked why University provided temporary affiliation for years rather than insisting the institutes to go for a permanent one, Khan said, "For permanent affiliation, colleges have to follow all the norms of infrastructure and must have approved teachers and principals and have to give Rs5 lakh as fee. For temporary affiliation, the norms are not so strict and the fee is less, approximately Rs60,000. Moreover, we can't force colleges to seek a permanent affiliation."
Interestingly, as per the RTI, only one engineering college (Vivekanand College of Engineering, Chembur) under MU has got permanent affiliation.