Affiliated colleges killing quality of education in state varsities

Maharashtra tops list with over 225 colleges affiliated to each of its 20 universities.

The system of affiliation is adversely affecting quality of higher education in the country, says a Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) committee, recommending a phase-wise reduction in the number of such colleges.

The 20 universities in Maharashtra have the most 4,631 affiliated colleges in the country. The national total is 33,000.

Maharashtra is closely followed by Andhra Pradesh which has 4,066 affiliated collges, Uttar Pradesh (3,859) and Karnataka (3,078).

A report on university reforms by the committee claims about 90 per cent of undergraduates, 70 per cent of postgraduates and 80 per cent of faculty members belong to affiliated colleges.

"Over time, the number of colleges affiliated to the 297 state universities in the country has increased and it stood at 31,324 on August 2011. A large section of administrative and academic human resource machinery of universities is used to manage affiliated colleges, limiting academic productivity time to innovate and create new knowledge," the report says.

While National Knowledge Commission and Yash Pal Committee had made strong recommendations to reduce the burden of affiliation on state universities, the Maharashtra government also appointed a committee last year to find ways to reduce such burden in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur.

"The heavy burden on universities should be brought down by establishing autonomous examination boards. Affiliated colleges should be granted performance-based autonomy, which should be reviewed periodically. This would enable autonomous institutions to innovate and reduce burden on universities," the state panel said.

The CABE committee has made similar recommendations.

"Colleges in government and aided sectors having over 25 years standing and National Assessment and Accreditation Council grade 'A' may be considered for autonomous status. States may not be permitted to constitute uni-disciplinary universities and central funding to such universities may be cut," it says.

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