PUNE: Around two years after gaining autonomous status, Deccan Education Society’s Fergusson College (FC) is now all set to upgrade to ‘University’ status. After receiving a letter for upgrading to a university from RUSA (Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan), the college has submitted an extensive proposal to the Government of Maharashtra regarding the academic, physical, administrative and financial reform worth Rs 75.4 crore under it.
“From what we have understood, under this programme, the government provides a grant of Rs 55 crore, divided between Centre and State, for upgradation. Considering that, we have put forward our proposal. While all the autonomous colleges in the State have received such letters, we are the first one in the State to submit a proposal for upgradation as we already have received the autonomous status. Now, we are expecting approval and upgradation to take place by 2019,” said Vikas Kakatkar, Secretary, Deccan Education Society.
After upgradation, the college will convert its 27 departments in Arts and Science streams to eight ‘schools’. For instance, they might be called the school of bio-sciences, school of earth, energy and environmental sciences, school of liberal arts and humanities, school of social sciences, etc, which will be headed by creating directors or deans. There will also be separate centres for skill and personality development and health and wellness. The college will also focus on improving the physical infrastructure of the campus.
“Presently, the upgradation will be limited only to the Arts and Science college, and not any other colleges affiliated to DES, or on the campus of Fergusson College. If upgradation happens, we will not be a deemed or private university, but a degree awarding university under the State”, he said.
Kakatkar also informed that the Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce (BMCC), which got autonomous status last year, has also applied for the upgradation. “Due to autonomous status, we have achieved academic independence. We have 50:50 examination pattern, where 50 per cent weightage is given to continuous internal exam and 50 per cent to end semester exam. This has improved attendance in the classroom. We have also introduced a wide range of interdisciplinary open electives where a Science student can learn Economics and an Arts students can learn Computer Science,” Kakatkar said.
He further added that the university status will also give administrative autonomy to the college. “We lagged behind in National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) ranking this year, as we scored less in two areas - student-teacher ratio and student diversity. We cannot do anything in these areas right now, as we have around 45 vacancies, which haven’t received approval. Also, according to the State government rule, we can only give admissions to 10 per cent students from other states, and 15 per cent students from abroad. Thus, we have less diversity as compared to colleges in other states. These issues will be resolved once we become a university,” he stated.
Fergusson College has completed 2 years of autonomy, and next year, the first batch of the autonomous college will be graduating.