Three city colleges have been brought under the ambit of Maharashtra’s second cluster university, unveiled on Thursday.
The launch of the H.S.N.C. University, Mumbai, was announced by Hyderabad (Sind) National Collegiate University Board (HSNC) provost Niranjan Hiranandani, taking the H.R. College of Commerce, K.C. College and Bombay Teacher’s Training College under its fold. It was unveiled through videoconferencing by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and State Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad.
“It is an unprecedented situation to be launching it online, but we did not want to postpone education due to the pandemic,” Mr. Hiranandani said.
The university is gearing up to begin its admission process for students and will roll out guidelines by the end of June. It received clearance under the Centre’s higher education funding programme, the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), in January this year. It is the first of its kind to be supported by a private trust, unlike the first cluster university, Dr. Homi Bhaha State University, which was unveiled in May last year.
Principal of K.C. College, Dr. Hemlata Bagla, said at present, they are awaiting Higher Secondary School examination results, which are expected by the month-end. “Once the results are out, the admission guidelines will be published online,” she said.
While the plan prior to the lockdown was to make 20% of course material available online, Mr. Hiranandani said it would now be reversed and 80% of learning would take place online till the situation settles and colleges can be reopened.
“We are aiming at a co-learning process that includes both on-ground learning as well as providing an online platform in these difficult times,” Mr. Hiranandani said.
On the financial front, Mr. Hiranandani said general provisions to offer financial aid to students such as loans and scholarships will continue to operate but no additional fee waivers have been envisioned considering the present situation.
“It is not going to be an elitist university. We have people from all backgrounds that study in these colleges. The fees will operate in the same price range, maybe with a 10% hike,” he said.
While the second cluster university gets a State university status and will have its doors open for non-resident Indians and out-of-State students, owing to HSNC’s minority institution status, the colleges will continue with their 50% reservation policy for the minority community.