UoP campus in UAE fails economics test, faces closure
Negotiations with UAE-based firm that looks after financial aspects of University of Pune dream project in Ras Al Khaimah break down; campus to shut shop after unsuccessful 5-year struggle to attract students and become economically viable.
The campus of the University of Pune (UoP) in United Arab Emirates (UAE), a dream project of the varsity that has been in financial troubles since it was started in 2007, is finally going to shut down. The firm that is looking at all the financial aspects of the project has declared that the campus is not economically viable.
UoP officiating registrar Dr C M Chitale and BCUD director Dr V B Gaikvad recently visited the campus in Ras Al Khaimah (UAE) for last-ditch negotiations, but the firm looking after the infrastructural and financial aspects of the campus stuck to its stand.
The firm wants to close down the five-year-old campus as the project has faced major losses since inception. The UoP entered into an MoU with the UAE-based firm, Edulink, in 2007 for the project. Edulink was looking after the management side of the project.
The UoP was running two management courses on the campus by sharing faculty and its syllabus. “The UAE-based firm is no longer interested in running the campus and is saying the campus is not economically viable,” UoP Vice-Chancellor Dr W N Gade said. “Two of our senior officers tried to negotiate, but as the UoP is not involved in the financial aspects of the campus since beginning, we can not do much about solving these issues.”
The UoP will soon get a formal letter about closure of the UAE campus. “Once we receive the letter we will put the subject across to the management council of the university and will take the final decision about closing the UAE campus,” Gade said.
Former director of the UAE campus Dr K C Mohite said things had started going wrong from the beginning. “The campus started in the academic year 2007-2008 and soon was hit by the global recession in 2008,” Mohite said. “The student strength was never above 30. The campus also failed to attract foreign students, and those taking admissions are mostly Maharashtrians.”
Since the beginning, the UAE campus has offered only two courses — MBA and Executive MBA — and the UoP failed to add other faculties as promised before.“The campus has stopped the admission process in the current academic year after not receiving good response from students,” Mohite said.
Dr V B Gaikwad refused to talk about the visit to the UAE campus, only saying, “When was the UAE campus functional?”
The UAE campus was the brainchild of former VC Dr Narendra Jadhav, and with it the UoP became the first public university in the state to start a campus abroad.