Mumbai: In major decision taken to address the scarcity of land, the Directorate of Higher Education (DHE) Maharashtra has invited applications from renowned educational institutions and colleges operating in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Aurangabad and other metro cities of the state to open “Vertical University Campus”.
Private Universities at present require a minimum of 25 acres of land if established in rural areas. An institution if it wishes to establish a university in a Metro City then the land requirement is minimum 10 acres.
“However, to fulfil the minimum requirement of 10-acre land to establish a Private University in metro cities like Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Pune is next to impossible”, DHE Pune said in a notification published on its website.
To address this issue of land scarcity, the government of Maharashtra came with the idea of Vertical University Campus which is common in the United States and other Western countries.
“To address this difficulty, the concept of Vertical University Campus has been approved and the application is now sought from the interested institutions and colleges having 20,000 sq metres and more of constructed area”, DHE Pune said.
The erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress government in Maharashtra headed by Uddhav Thackeray as Chief Minister had in February 2020 formed a committee to explore the idea of Vertical University Campus.
The committee was formed to address the scarcity of land and the difficulties the existing universities face to accommodate the rising number of students who wish to enrol for higher education.
The committee submitted its report in November 2020, giving its nod for the proposal that was finally approved by the Higher Education Department. Now if all goes well then Mumbai will soon be the first metro city in India having a Vertical University Campus.
As against traditional universities operating on a huge size of land having plush lawns, snaking academic corridors and stained glass convocation halls, a Vertical University Campus will grow vertically so that a university can now be housed on the 50th floor of a shiny corporate tower or could find a home in a hotel wing.
Giving other requirements, DHE Pune in its notification said the interested institutions and colleges besides having an area equivalent of 20,000 sq metres should be able to offer courses in a blended or hybrid form - a combination of online and in-person offline classes.
The DHE Pune further said that the institutions applying for Vertical University Campus should have obtained at least 3.25 grade points in NAAC assessment and must be among top 200 universities and colleges ranked by National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) of Ministry of Education, Govt of India or National Board of Accreditation (NBA).
In another major policy shift, the erstwhile MVA government in Maharashtra had in September 2020 also allowed colleges to open “Satellite Centres” in faraway towns of the state so as to make access to higher education easier for students living in rural and tribal areas who cannot afford to stay in metro cities.
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