On the last day of the monsoon session yesterday, the state legislature approved two legislations paving way for two private universities to set up their establishments at Bhatan, near Panvel and Pune. Amity University (Panvel) and Spicer Adventist University (Pune) will be the first private varsities to set up campuses in the state.
The universities will be offering degree, diploma and certificate courses in streams like liberal arts, humanities, social sciences, life sciences, biotechnologies, nano-sciences, technologies, engineering, technology, management, business and commerce, media, information and communication, among others.
While tabling the bills, the state advocated the need to set up such universities facilitating private participation to enhance access, excellence, inclusion and research in the field of higher education.
Unlike other government-related universities, the state will have minimum regulatory interference in the formation and functioning of these universities. But the state will set up a regulatory board to ensure appropriate standards of teaching, examination, research, protection of interest of the students and reasonable service conditions of the employees.
Another interference will come only at the time of implementation of the fee structure, as the universities will need a stamp of approval by a fee structure review committee. This panel is supposed to be headed by a retired judge from the high court or the Supreme Court.
Though the state has prohibited collection of capitation fee as per the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (prohibition of capitation fee) Act, 1987, managements of such universities have been allowed to collect or accept donations in cash or kind from public and organisations or public trusts. But as per the law, managements will not be allowed to reserve seats in any educational institute run by them.
As per the approved structure, the universities will have a president, vice-chancellor, deans of faculties, registrar, chief finance and accounts officer and controller of examinations.
They will be open to all and will have to adopt government policy and orders issued from time to time in regard to the reservation for reserved categories, for appointment of employees and for the purpose of admissions of students.
However, the state will not reimburse any fee or shall take any financial liability for them.