In a strategic move, the Tamil Nadu Government would refrain from giving green signal for university constituent colleges in future and in turn would establish more Government colleges in the state, according to a TOI report. Speaking at an event in Trichy recently, Suil Paliwal, Higher Education Secretary told the daily that the State Higher Education Departments were likely to refrain from giving permission for university constituent colleges, going forward. On the contrary, new Government colleges would be set up, if the need arose.
Stating that there was a conscious thinking from the side of the Government that in future, only government colleges would be opened and not constituent colleges, Paliwal went on to add: “We have been getting varied views on this. Discussions are still on and a final decision would be taken soon.”
As part of the plan, the constituent colleges are likely to be converted into Government colleges. Paliwal said that the Higher Education Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu had indeed received such requests but a decision was yet to be taken. The move comes in the backdrop of many state run universities expressing concern over operational costs of running the constituent colleges negatively impacting their finances, the report pointed out.
Stating as an example, the report concurred that the Bharathidasan University, which ran ten constituent colleges could not disburse salary to staff on time last month because of financial issues. What is more, it is also being pointed out that universities are meant to concentrate more on research activities than run colleges.
“Shouldn’t the universities be focusing on post-graduation, MPhil and PhD level research activities than on under graduation courses,” the report quoted the vice-chancellor of a state-run university who did not want to be named.
Welcoming such a move from the Government, the VC said that constituent colleges could be good test labs for UG courses for the university but of late their numbers had increased over various reasons and become a burden for universities. While it was the duty of the government to start colleges it had reduced direct funding to them and started asking universities to take the burden. While 14 government arts and science colleges were started in the state from 2011-17 not less than 51 constituent colleges were opened since 2006.
Quoting sources, the report further said that while the universities could generate their own funds through distance education and by increasing fees, the government was unable to raise the fees fearing criticism. Therefore, successive governments had directed the universities to start constituent colleges and meet their operational costs. However, the main beneficiaries of this policy were local ministers and politicians who took credit for starting a college in their region, the report added.