MUMBAI: The state government is not interested in expanding higher education resources. This year, it has refused to grant permission to any public university interested in starting additional division in their affiliated colleges.

An RTI application filed by activist Anil Galgali has revealed that the government turned down all applications for additional divisions. Put together, all 12 non-agricultural universities requested permission to have 306 additional divisions. Shivaji University, Kolhapur, had the most aggressive expansion plans and had sought permission to add 154 divisions.

In old courses like commerce, a division is made of 120 seats; in relatively newer courses like BMS, one division comprises 60 seats. In the city, several law and commerce colleges had lined up for extra divisions. Mumbai University’s expansion plans however, too were derailed and for the 62 additional divisions it asked for, none were approved.

“Several colleges wanted to start the new commerce subjects like transportation, but a new sweeping rule by the state has put all their plans on hold. Many colleges had made necessary arrangement and were in the last stage of buying books and supplementary reading resources,” said a varsity official.

For 2015-16, the largest demand for additional divisions came from Shivaji University, Kolhapur-154. It was followed by Mumbai University demanding 62, Pune’s Savitribai Phule University demanding 30 additional divisions, two from Mumbai’s SNDT University besides other state varsities.

Besides, as per a government letter dated April 29, 2015, the government had decided to not have new universities, separate science wings, new subjects, change in study pattern and additional divisions for 2015-16.

“To reject such an important plea of granting additional divisions to universities is a major goof-up of the government,” said Galgali. “It reduces public access to higher education and it could give undue advantage to some colleges and lead to malpractices.”

He has written to the chief minister, demanding the overturning of the government decision taken in this effect.

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