INDIA. Mumbai: Nearly 178 colleges affiliated with the prestigious Mumbai University are functioning without full-time principals raising a question mark over the supervision of teachers and students and eventually the educational standard.
The reply dated December 21, 2021, given by Ravindra Salve, Public Information Officer of the Mumbai University, to a query by RTI activist Anil Galgali, indicates that many colleges are running either under the supervision of officiating principals or the management representatives. The posts of the principals in many colleges have remained unfilled for a fairly long time.
As of now, 808 colleges are registered with the university. In 81 colleges the job of the principal is looked after by the directors of these educational institutes. Out of the remaining 727 colleges, 178 colleges are functioning without the principal. The information about 23 colleges is not available with the university.
Colleges functioning without full-time principals
The colleges which are being run without the full-time principal include K J Somaiya College of Arts and Science, Vidyavihar (North East Mumbai) (being run with an officiating principal), Asmita College of Arts and Science, Vikhroli (North East Mumbai), Thakur College of Science and Commerce, Kandivali East (North Mumbai), Shaheed Dunichand T. Kalani Memorial College, Ulhasnagar (Thane district), R. K. Talreja College of Arts, Science, and Commerce, Ulhasnagar (Thane district), Annasaheb Vartak College of Arts, Commerce, Science, Vasai (Palghar district), Ramji Assar Vidyalaya Committees College of Commerce, Ghatkopar East (North East Mumbai), Guru Nanak College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Bhandup West (North East Mumbai), Sheth NKTT College of Commerce, Thane West and Jitendra Chauhan College of Law, Vile Parle West (North West Mumbai).
The long list of colleges also include: Manjra College of Law, Vashi, Navi Mumbai, Akbar Peerbhoy College of Commerce & Economics, Bombay Central (South Mumbai), Dwarkadas J. Sanghvi College of Engineering, Vile Parle West (North West Mumbai), Vivekanand Education Society’s College of Arts, Science & Commerce, Chembur (North East Mumbai), Bunts Sangha Mumbai’s Anna Leela College of Commerce and Economics, Navi Mumbai, R.R. Educational Trusts College of Education, Mulund East (North East Mumbai), H R College of Commerce and Economics, Churchgate (South Mumbai) and Anjuman Islam College, Bombay Central (South Mumbai).
Galgali questions the university
When Contacted Liladhar Bansod, a spokesman for Mumbai University, he admitted that there are some colleges, that have not appointed full-time principals and the work is being looked after by officiating principals. However, he maintained that the principal can be appointed only after clearance is given by the Maharashtra Higher and Technical Education department.
Maharashtra Minister of Higher Education And Technical Education, Uday Samant did not respond to several telephone calls made to get his reaction.
However, Galgali said that if the principal cannot be appointed due to want of approval of the Higher Education and Technical Education department, then Mumbai University should not approve new educational courses. “What is the hurry which compels the university to approve the new courses and new divisions although the colleges are unable to recruit the principals?”
As per the norms of the University Grant Commission (UGC) a candidate with a PhD degree and 15 years of teaching/research in universities can be appointed as a principal. Besides that, the candidate should have a minimum of 10 research publications in peer-reviewed or UGC-listed journals and a minimum of 110 research scores to be eligible for appointment as principal.
Dr Vaibhav Narwade, General Secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh (ABRSM), an all India level body of college teachers, said that Maharashtra
Higher and Technical Education department does not give an NOC for the appointment of principals in time. Resultantly the colleges pull on with temporary arrangements. This also works in their favour since they have to pay less salary to the officiating principals.
Amendment to Maharashtra Public Universities Act
Meanwhile, the ABRSM in a memorandum to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has opposed the Maharashtra Public Universities (Third Amendment) Act, 2021, recently passed by the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. ABRSM office bearers who called on the governor pointed out that the educational institutes should be free from political influence. This has also been made clear in the New Educational Policy. There are many unresolved issues related to the teachers like career advancement schemes, pay revision, etc which are being overlooked. Now, this amendment to the act is certain to erode the autonomy of the universities.
The amended act seeks to appoint the Higher and Technical Education Minister as pro-chancellor and introduces changes in the process for vice-chancellor appointment. The pro-chancellor’s powers will be wide-ranging: from chairing the university’s senate, its high-level decision-making body, to presiding over the convocation ceremony in the absence of the chancellor. The amendment is viewed as an attempt to water down the powers of the Governor who functions as the Chancellor of all the universities in the state.