The University Grants Commission (UGC) recently granted academic autonomy to eight colleges in Maharashtra, of which three are from Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). The number of autonomous institutes in the state is now 68.
Dr Bhanuben Mahendra Nanavati (BMN) College of Home Science, Matunga, became the first college affiliated to Shrimati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey (SNDT) Women’s University to get autonomy. Similarly, Hansraj Jivandas College of Education, Khar and Changu Kana Thakur (CKT) College, Panvel, were granted autonomy. Both the institutes are affiliated to the University of Mumbai (MU).
All the institutes had scored 3.51 or more out of 4 during their last assessment by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), which made them eligible for autonomy without undergoing scrutiny by various UGC committees.
From the next academic year, the new autonomous colleges can introduce their own curriculum and assessment method. They can also seek Rs 5 crore grant from Rashtriya Uchchatar Shikshan Abhiyan (RUSA) — a funding agency under the Centre.
“The objective behind seeking autonomy was to enhance our existing programmes as per industry needs, focus on skill development, modify assessment system, introduce online courses and need-based programmes,” said Shilpa Chirankar, principal, BMN College.
Sidheshwar Gadade, secretary, Janardhan Bhagat Shikshan Prasaran Sanstha, which runs CKT College, said the institute will offer a new curriculum for undergraduate and postgraduate courses at one go.
“We don’t need to make drastic changes to the existing Commerce curriculum. But curricula for Science and Arts will be updated. Also, we’ll allow 40% marks for internal assessment as compared 25% by the varsity. We’ll intend to strengthen and revise our diploma and certificate courses,” he said.
According to the state project directorate of RUSA, five more colleges from Maharashtra are likely to get autonomy by January-end.
“We are trying making colleges understand the benefits of autonomy. We want to create islands of excellence,” said a RUSA official.