Special Correspondent

They will also share best practices

Proposal will be submitted to UGC Each cluster college will offer one elective PG course

CHENNAI: The University of Madras will introduce the `Cluster College System' among its affiliated colleges starting this academic year.

Two clusters mooted

The university's academic council, which met here on Saturday, has mooted two college clusters in the city, which will group together for resource-sharing and capacity building at the postgraduate level.

While the first cluster will comprise the Government Arts College, the New College, the Pachaiyappa's College, the Presidency College and the R.K.M. Vivekananda college, the second will consist of the Bharathi Women's College, the Ethiraj College for Women, the JBAS College for Women, the MOP Vaishnav College, the Quaid-e-Millath College for Women, the Queen Mary's College and the Women's Christian College.

Voluntary basis

The clustering has been done on a `voluntary basis' with the consent of students, faculty and college managements and will enable institutions to share best practices and resources such as laboratories/faculty/playgrounds etc, Vice-Chancellor S.P. Thyagarajan told reporters here.

The proposal will be submitted to the UGC for funding to the tune of Rs. 50 lakh per cluster as seed money.

Each cluster college will offer one elective per postgraduate course in the second semester and the extra-disciplinary elective will be compulsory.

Skill-based certificate programmes will be offered by the cluster colleges and students can attend the programmes on an optional basis.

Modular approach

The university will also be introducing a social orientation component and an `employability-cum-entrepreneurship skills' element in all its courses from this year, incorporating a modular approach to learning.

To this end, the varsity has entered into partnerships with organisations such as Exnora International, ELCOT, Madras Chamber of Commerce, Confederation of Indian Industry and the United Nations Development Programme to strengthen the quality of the programmes and help in capacity building, the Vice-Chancellor added.

The partnerships would be operative across all the 95 academic courses offered by the university.