Plans afoot to transform Maharashtra into educational hub: Vinod Tawde

Maharashtra government is working on a proposal to make the state an 'educational hub' by encouraging setting up of private universities.

A well-designed mapping of universities is needed to transform Maharashtra into an educational hub, state Education Minister Vinod Tawde told PTI.

"Our aim is to set up 25 to 30 private universities in different parts of Maharashtra. I would also like to have a private sports university and a full-fledged university of arts and culture," Tawde said.

The state government has received letter of intent (LoI) from 35 applicants so far. Bills to establish, incorporate and regulate two universities for development and advancement of higher education ¿ Sandip University in Nashik and MIT Art, Design and Technology University in Pune - have been introduced in the Legislative Assembly during the ongoing Monsoon Session.

A separate Legislation will be enacted during establishment of each private university, the minister said.

"We will frame strict rules to ensure that establishment of colleges affiliated to these universities are not commercial entities, but impart higher and technical education to boost knowledge sector in the state," he said. The government is keen on improving opportunities in higher education with participation and investment by the private sector, he said.

"We plan to encourage formation of self-financed private universities which will help the state to achieve excellence in higher, technical, professional and management education without creating financial burden on state exchequer," the minister said.

Government should play the role of a catalyst in the development of higher education and ensure provisions of appropriate and suitable environment for such self-financed universities, Tawde opined. He said the government has decided to permit those private institutions that have demonstrated exceptional track records in establishing and running courses of higher education, to establish self-financed universities.

Government will have minimum regulatory interference in their formation and functioning, he said. However, the government will retain some supervisory and regulatory powers to ensure that self-financed universities conform to the highest level of infrastructure facilities and academic requirements, Tawde said.

The government will ensure that the process of encouraging such growth does not create hurdles for education of underprivileged sections of the society or allow mismanagement of any sort, detrimental to the public interest or general education policy of the government, he added.

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