If accepted, say goodbye to bifurcation and hello to six-university split

Even as the proposal to bifurcate Bangalore University (BU) has been stalled temporarily following the death of the former Higher Education Minister V.S. Acharya, a new recommendation from the University Grants Commission (UGC) regarding affiliations has put the spotlight back on the issue.

As per the recommendation of a 12-member committee of the UGC, the number of affiliations to any university should be limited to 100.

If this recommendation is accepted, then the BU, which has 654 colleges affiliated to it, will have to be divided into six universities.

Until recently, the plan to bifurcate BU had gained fillip with the late Acharya pursuing the proposal seriously.

According to sources, even the land for the new campus had been identified.

According to the bifurcation plan, the full-fledged campus at Jnanabharathi would become the campus for the proposed new Bangalore South University, while infrastructure would have to be set up from scratch at the main campus at Hoskote.

Recommendation

The expert committee was constituted by the UGC in August 2008, under the chairmanship of S.P. Thyagarajan, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Madras.

The main aim of the committee was to “administratively streamline the existing affiliating system by bringing in good governance and accountability-linked autonomy”.

The cap on the number of affiliations was decided, according to the UGC, “based on the overall national-level consensus of all sections of stakeholders of higher education”. In the detailed UGC document, in the description of the different “levels” of affiliating universities in the country, Bangalore University finds mention with Osmania and Pune universities at the top of the list, for having over 300 affiliated colleges.

The UGC document even cites that universities and colleges that participated in the consultation, which was part of this exercise, suggested that an “adequate number of new universities should be established, through bifurcation and trifurcation, to lessen the burden of affiliating universities, and to maintain standard and quality in higher education”.

‘Welcome to divide'

BU Vice-Chancellor N. Prabhu Dev, a strong critic of the bifurcation plan, said that he had not received any communication regarding the UGC recommendation. Asked about splitting the university into six universities, even as it is known that he was uncomfortable about it being split into two, he said, “If they want to divide it (BU) into six universities, they are welcome.”