LUCKNOW: In a desperate bid to mitigate the crisis arising due to the high number of affiliated colleges and the subsequent tales of mismanagement, the University Grants Commission has recommended that a particular university may be allowed to grant affiliations only to 100 colleges under it. The 12-member panel appointed by UGC stated that the present system of granting affiliation has become a 'major burden' impacting 'significantly' the 'quality and innovation outputs' of the university system. The load of affiliated colleges, ranging upto 900 colleges with some of the universities, has caused enormous hurdles in the smooth functioning of the quality of higher education system. The number of affiliated colleges is found the most in Maharashtra, Delhi, and Karnataka. The condition in Uttar Pradesh is no better. Out of 12 state universities, Lucknow andGorakhpur University are the only residential ones, which have 108 and 300 colleges respectively under their affiliation.
Strongly supporting the UGC's recommendations, Gorakhpur vice-chancellor, Prof PC Trivedi said, "Reduction in the number of affiliating colleges is a welcome step, majorly because it will help in effective control and increase the quality of education. Managing self-finance colleges is a herculean task." Prof Trivedi also holds up the UGC's argument that the state universities have become examination conducting bodies with the increasing load of affiliating functions due to large number of affiliated colleges, hence using ill-equipped, age-old administrative machinery and personnel. "This has pushed the focus on innovation and research of the university to the periphery," he said. His opinions were seconded by Prof Rajesh Mishra of Lucknow University. According to him, putting a limit will stop in unmindful expansion of affiliating colleges, which are merely a money minting exercise for the universities.
"Putting a stop on countless colleges will also ensure quality of education," he said. As per the UGC, the number of affiliation requests is quite large ranging between 1 and 250. Nearly 36% of the universities report to receive every year affiliation requests between 1-12, another 31% between 15-28, and the remaining between 30-250 (largest being 250 reported by University of Rajasthan). Based on the overall consensus of all stake holders of higher education, the expert committee has come to a conclusion that 'there is an urgent need for time-bound introduction of multi-pronged reforms of the affiliating system taking into account the regional, cultural and educational diversities of the country, so that international level quality in higher education is achieved across the nation'. The expert committee, headed by former vice-chancellor of Madras University S P Thyagarajan, has also recommended promotion of 'cluster college system' through provision of financial assistance to allow them evolve as clustercollege universities, besides upgradation of colleges with potential for excellence.