The state higher and technical education department wants a new Maharashtra Universities Act in place before the term of this government comes to an end. The new Universities Act is expected to bring about far-reaching changes, including doing away with the senate model for universities and introducing a new system.
Higher and technical education minister Rajesh Tope is keen on the new Maharashtra Universities Act, 2014, being passed and implemented before the term of the state government comes to an end.
The state had appointed three committees — one by Dr Anil Kakodkar, one by Dr Ram Takawale and one by Dr Arun Nigavekar — for the creation of the new Act and for improvement in governance in higher education.
One of the recommendations of the Kakodkar committee is empowering the vice-chancellor as the sole academic and administrative head of a university. It also recommends that the senate be replaced with a Society Partnership Council and develop an effective student-learner-centric academic structure, strong research, academia and industry linkages.
"The senates have turned into political dens and representatives of political parties are elected. Therefore, in the new Universities Act, we have decided to do away with the senate system altogether and replace it with a system of nominations by the vice-chancellor. The same has been recommended by the Kakodkar committee too," said an official of the higher and technical education department.
The Takwale committee had pointed out that big universities in the state should be divided to increase their efficiency. He had also suggested establishing as many as 26 universities by 2015 to ensure quality, considering the increasing number of colleges mushrooming.
"We are keen on bringing the Act soon with all the recommendations suggested by the committees," said Tope.
Among the other recommendations of the Kakodkar committee was setting up of Maharashtra State Council for Higher Education and Development (MAHED). It has also suggested that MAHED be made a standalone independent statutory body with appropriate and adequate autonomy to help develop higher education, right from funding to appointing vice-chancellors.
The committee report also recommends that MAHED be guided by an apex advisory and super-advisory council, chaired by the governor on one side and the Academic and Development Council on the other.