Education imparted in government colleges might undergo an impressive change when the announcements made by higher education minister P. Palaniappan in the Assembly on Thursday, take shape.

The minister announced nearly 398 new academic programmes in 51 Government Arts and Science colleges across the State from June 2013 onwards. Nearly 827 new teaching posts will be created to sustain and run these programmes. The Government has issued orders to the Teachers Recruitment Board to fill 530 teacher vacancies, arising out of retirement and other causes. Among the city colleges that will benefit are Presidency College, Bharathi Women’s College, Ambedkar Arts College Vyasarpadi, Government Nandanam Arts College etc.

Members of the Tamil Nadu Government College Teachers’ Association (TNGCTA) welcomed the announcement.

“This is a welcome contrast to the Centre’s move towards privatisation,” said L. Prathaban, general secretary of the association.

While some colleges got courses in nanotechnology, applied sciences, clinical nutrition and many post-graduation courses, others have been asked to launch courses in tourism and travel management and energy studies.

“Last year, they introduced 299 new courses. This year, it is 398. It is an impressive qualitative expansion in the offering,” said K.M. Prabhu, principal, Government Nandanam Arts College. The college from next year will offer Ph. Ds in botany, chemistry, computer science, commerce, company secretary-ship and post-graduate courses in English among others.

“Most of our students are from the marginalised sections. The measures will help them pursue post-graduation and research without having to spend much.”

Heads of government colleges said the government might also need to revamp the administrative structure. “Now that colleges are being transformed with more departments, courses, students and staff members, there is also a need to ensure their working is supervised properly. One regional director for 150 colleges is not enough,” said the head of a college.

V. Kanthimathi, principal, Queen Mary’s college, said the decision to appoint more teachers was timely. “We are facing a faculty crunch in some departments. With more teachers, students will definitely benefit.”