Higher education dept plans to introduce cluster university

A group of four to six colleges will be granted varsity status under the concept
Last Updated 24 December 2013, 18:48 IST

In a unique experiment, the department of Higher Education is planning to group four to six government colleges in Bangalore and Mysore and grant them university status.

The concept, known as ‘cluster university,’ has been mooted by the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), under the Ministry of Human Resource Development and aims at integrating colleges and giving them university status to achieve better access and excellence in higher education. The Higher Education department is planning to group six colleges in Bangalore and four colleges in Mysore, prepare a detailed plan for granting university status to each group and send it to RUSA for approval.

If approved, each of the proposed university will get a grant of Rs 55 crore for the 12th plan period (on till 2017) and Rs 65 crore for the 13th plan (2017-2022). While, RUSA would be providing 65 per cent of the grants, the balance will have to be borne by the State government.

 According to official sources, the colleges selected in Bangalore are Government Arts College; Government Science College; Maharani’s Arts, Commerce and Management College; Maharani’s Science College; Renukacharya College Of Science, Arts and Commerce and VHD Central Institute of Home Science.

Colleges selected in Mysore are Maharani’s Science College; Maharani’s Arts College; Government First Grade College, Vijayanagar and Government First Grade College, Kuvempunagar.

On approval by RUSA, amendments would have to be made to the Karnataka State Universities Act 2000, for creation of the new universities and the Law department would be consulted in this regard, the officials told Deccan Herald. All participating colleges in a cluster would eventually become the constituent colleges of the newly created university.
Officials said creating of cluster universities would help in pooling of resources, better opportunities for students and faculty in research activities. Besides, the grants approved could be pumped into improving academic, physical and technical infrastructure of the colleges.

RUSA guidelines

RUSA has stipulated several guidelines that participating colleges have to fulfill, to be eligible to be grouped as cluster university. The participating colleges should have been in existence for 15 years; should have an existing combined enrolment of 2,000 students; should have National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) accreditation, and  should have a student-teacher ratio of 20:1, among others.

RUSA has also stipulated that the conversion plan for the creation of the universities must include stage-wise planning with regard to expansion in infrastructure, number of students, departments, administration, academic functions, research activities, among others. The plan should also cover the timelines and steps that will be taken for the integration of the participating colleges.

In all, RUSA will be according approval for setting up 35 cluster universities across the country during the 12th plan period.

(Published 24 December 2013, 18:48 IST)

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