Decision on converting colleges into universities

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Decision on converting colleges into universities

The Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly’s select committee will make a decision on the proposal to convert two aided colleges into private universities before the next Assembly session begins, Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy said on Tuesday.

The committee held its first meeting on Monday and discussed some of the issues involved, he said.

In the last Assembly session, the government had proposed that the PSG colleges in Coimbatore and Thiagarajar colleges in Madurai be converted into universities. It also planned to convert five government colleges into universities by promulgating an ordinance.

The most recent opposition to the plan has come from Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam president Vijayakant, who alleged that the plan would lead to privatisation and subsequently commercialisation of education in the State and that reservation would not be implemented in the new universities.

Mr. Ponmudy rejected these allegations, saying that reservation in educational institutions was compulsory and was being implemented by the Central and State governments. While there may be one or two defaulting institutions, the policy was in place to ensure reservation.

The conversion of colleges into universities would not harm education, but would develop it. It would bring more access to funding from the University Grants Commission and opportunities to improve curricula and establish quality education.

There was a misconception that the once they received university status, the institutions would drop their undergraduate degree programmes to concentrate on research, he said.

“You must understand that there is a difference between unitary universities and affiliating universities . In universities with affiliated colleges, those colleges run the degree programmes, so the university may focus on research.

But in a unitary university, such as the ones we are trying to create, the universities will offer degree programmes,” said the Minister.