Maharashtra frames cluster-university guidelines in line with National Education Policy

Cluster University: A maximum of five colleges in a district can be clubbed, at least one needs to be a government college


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Maharashtra Government has recently released cluster university guidelines inline with NEP 2020 (Representational Image: Goa Institute of Management)Maharashtra Government has recently released cluster university guidelines inline with NEP 2020 (Representational Image: Goa Institute of Management)

Atul Krishna | December 1, 2023 | 02:44 PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Department of Higher and Technical Education, Maharashtra, has released a set of guidelines on creating cluster universities by merging a maximum of five existing colleges to form multidisciplinary universities as prescribed by the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

All traditional and vocational colleges, except those that teach agriculture and health science, are eligible to be clubbed into a cluster university. The newly-formed cluster universities are mandatorily required to have a designated flagship college, disabled-friendly infrastructure and two research centres.

The guidelines for the creation of cluster universities were cleared by the Maharashtra cabinet on November 17. These are in line with the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) ‘Guidelines for Transforming Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) into Multidisciplinary Institutions’ released in September.

According to the department guidelines, cluster universities can be formed with a minimum of two colleges and a maximum of five colleges in the district, provided that at least one of them is a government-aided college.

The government will also consider the creation of cluster universities of more than five colleges depending upon the feasibility. A special committee will be formed to look into the applications for cluster universities.

Maharashtra Education: Cluster university guidelines

According to the guidelines, each cluster university should have a flagship college, an academically high-performing college created at least 20 years ago, that will act as the coordinator to guide the rest of the colleges under the university.

The guidelines mandate that the university should also have a minimum 4,000 students combined in all participating colleges. The cluster university is also required to make plans to convert existing buildings into accessible structures for the differently-abled.

According to the guidelines, in order to establish a cluster university, it is necessary to ensure physical proximity among the participating colleges.

Moreover, the flagship college of the university is required to have an autonomous status for a minimum of 5 years or atleast have a 3.5 rating from National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). All participating colleges are also required to have a valid NAAC rating.

The cluster university should also have at least two functioning research centres approved by the affiliated university and conforming to the UGC norms. The constituent colleges should also be able to raise resources through other means than public funding.

Interested colleges can submit an application form, including a detailed project report, for the status of a cluster university. The government will then scrutinise the application and decide on granting the status following physical inspections.

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