UNIVER­SITY OF MUM­BAI Size Does Mat­ter

India Today - - EDUCATION - By Gay­a­tri Jayaraman

En­trenched deeply in tra­di­tion, the mam­moth Univer­sity of Mum­bai is open­ing it­self to a whole new world. The now com­mon sights of stu­dents chat­ting with Vice- Chan­cel­lor Ra­jan Welukar on the lawns, the her­itage con­vo­ca­tion hall doors left un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally open, and con­stant con­struc­tion work are things old- timers would hardly as­so­ciate with the in­sti­tu­tion. But the winds of change blow­ing across its 156- year- old Fort cam­pus have left no one un­touched. The univer­sity’s cam­puses have grown from two to nine and a new Rs 300crore con­ven­tion cen­tre de­signed by Hong Kong- based ar­chi­tect James Law, a stun­ning dough­nut- shaped mod­ernist struc­ture of twist­ing glass, is un­der way at the Kalina cam­pus.

The univer­sity’s new agenda is to root it­self in its mi­lieu. For in­stance, it has wo­ken up to the lack of a film and tele­vi­sion in­sti­tute in the film- cen­tric Mum­bai and has de­cided to in­cor­po­rate one in the 100th year of In­dian cin­ema to ri­val FTII in Pune, or the pri­vately run Whistling Woods In­ter­na­tional founded by Sub­hash Ghai. The in­sti­tute will in­clude a 60- seater preview theatre.

The univer­sity has seven mil­lion stu­dents in 57 aca­demic de­part­ments across 688 af­fil­i­ated col­leges— its ju­ris­dic­tion be­ing as large as the state of Ma­ha­rash­tra it­self, with its far­ther­most col­lege in Banda on the Goa bor­der, 600 km away. “A UGC ( Univer­sity Grants Com­mis­sion) panel ob­served in 2012 that no univer­sity should have more than 100 col­leges. Then Univer­sity of Mum­bai, as you can imag­ine, is the equiv­a­lent of seven uni­ver­si­ties,” says Welukar. It is zoned, like a state, into ru­ral, tribal, rur­ban ( a mix of ru­ral and ur­ban), ur­ban and metro col­leges. The univer­sity’s 123- mem­ber aca­demic coun­cil is now us­ing this ex­panse to in­volve the com­mu­nity.

For in­stance, ef­fec­tive from the 2013- 14 ses­sion, the univer­sity is con­vert­ing its 20- acre Rat­na­giri cam­pus to an em­ploy­ment- ori­ented hos­pi­tal­ity study cen­tre, mod­elled on Amer­i­can com­mu­nity col­leges, to cater to a de­vel­op­ing econ­omy along the 720 km coast­line. It wants to rope in play­ers like Ma­ha­rash­tra Tourism De­velop-

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