The Bengal government is likely to introduce five bills, paving the way for as many universities, in the winter session of the assembly. This marks a huge expansion drive in higher education by the Mamata Banerjee government, which has established as many as 14 universities since assuming power in 2011.
FIVE NEW UNIVERSITIES
The first bill is to turn the country’s oldest B-school, IISWBM, into a university. There are four more: Green University in Chinsurah, Hooghly; Biswa-Bangla University in Bolpur; and two general degree-awarding universities at Jhargram, West Midnapore and Haldia, East Midnapore.
Whereas Biswa-Bangla and Green University will be unitary varsities, the other three will be affiliating ones. For the government, the primary motive was to speed up development.
East Midnapore has 50-odd colleges but no university. The district has the highest literacy percentage. Thus, the chief minister decided to set up Purba Midnapore University at Haldia, which is likely to see a high enrolment of more than 1,000 students in the first year itself. It will also affiliate all the colleges in the district.
The new avatar of IISWBM, called West Bengal University of Management Sciences, will come up on a new campus in New Town. When it comes up, it will be the first management university in the country, on the lines of The West Bengal University Of Teachers’ Training, Education Planning And Administration, which is dedicated to BEd courses and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University, affiliating all technology institutes in the state.
At the proposed Green University in Hooghly, the higher education department has planned to introduce popular courses that are in demand internationally, keeping in mind emerging markets.