Varsity status to FC, what it means

Pranita Roy
Wednesday, 23 January 2019

“We are also mulling introducing integrated courses from Std XI and will strengthen the research area,” added Kunte. He said this is the most important decision in the history of the college and DES. “We had been trying to get the status of cluster university, considering that all our 20 colleges will be functional under it,” said Kunte. 

Pune: Integrated courses after Std XI and converting its 27 departments into eight schools, along with independent centres for skill and personality development and health and wellness, are among the steps being mulled by the authorities after the State Cabinet approved the proposal to convert the Fergusson College into a university.
 
The 134-year-old Fergusson College has become the first public-private university run by the State Government. Founded by reformer and freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Vishnushastri Chiplunkar, Gopal Ganesh Agarkar and Mahadev Namjoshi to have an educational institute for countrymen, it will be recognised as state private university. Now, improvisation in existing syllabus, inclusion of integrated courses from higher secondary level and addition of new courses will be the major changes which will follow. 

Fergusson College will function as an university from the new academic year 2019-2020. “One third of the funds will be given by the State Government, while Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) will provide the rest. We will have freedom in academics like introducing new courses and improvising the syllabus, examination, offering degrees, diplomas and certificates independently,” stated Sharad Kunte, President of Deccan Education Society (DES), the parent body of Fergusson College.
 
“We are also mulling introducing integrated courses from Std XI and will strengthen the research area,” added Kunte. He said this is the most important decision in the history of the college and DES. “We had been trying to get the status of cluster university, considering that all our 20 colleges will be functional under it,” said Kunte. 

After upgradation, the college will convert its 27 departments in arts and science streams to eight ‘schools’. There will also be independent centres for skill and personality development and health and wellness besides boosting the infrastructure. “We have initiated the process of starting a new school of bio-sciences, school of earth, energy and environmental sciences, school of liberal arts and humanities, school of social sciences, etc. However, we are waiting for the formal letter from the government to get a clear picture,” said Fergusson College Principal Ravindra Pardeshi. 

‘India needs more universities’ 
Welcoming the development, WN Gade, former Vice-Chancellor of Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) said, “Traditional universities are overburdened, therefore, new ones are needed to pave the way for quality education. Even though there are around 800 universities in the country, the number is less against the large population. Students will get more options in choosing educational institutions and larger course options will be available. Certainly, there will be competition among universities and institutes for imparting quality education.” 

Fergusson College alumini and Inter-University of Astrophysics and Astronomy (IUCAA) Professor Emeritus Sanjeev Dhurandhar said there is a need of more interdisciplinary courses. He led the team that worked on gravitational waves detection along with three American scientists who bagged the Nobel prize for Physics in 2017. 

Giving an example of his current major project in LIGO, Dhurandhar said, “There are several subjects in this project like vacuum technology, laser optics, data and signal processing, general relativity. Therefore, it is necessary to create interdisciplinary courses of each so that the students are trained accordingly. Unlike foreign countries where there are no compartmentalisation of subjects, in India there are divisions of each subject. There should be a smooth transition and flexibility in choosing subjects for students.”

Shaping Future
The 135-year-old Fergusson College has become the first public-private university run by the State Government. 
Founded by reformer and freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Vishnushastri Chiplunkar, Gopal Ganesh Agarkar and Mahadev Namjoshi to have an educational institute for countrymen, it will be recognised as state private university. 

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