The erstwhile Presidency College, now Presidency University, is planning to tap corporate funds, among others. Now a deemed university, it is facing an acute shortage of funds, and will start hunting for all possible routes to raise money. It will seek Central, state and corporate assistance for development projects.
The university currently doesn’t have any management or technology courses that attract corporate interests. However, the varsity management is hopeful that this can be a long-term investment for companies, as they get the opportunity to nurture talents at one of the oldest educational institutions in India.
According to Malabika Sarkar, vice-chancellor, Presidency University, the varsity will come out with a ‘development blueprint’ in December. “This includes various infrastructural projects that are being planned. Since the state government is facing financial problems, we are going to submit it (development blueprint) before the Centre and the Planning Commission for assistance. Even private companies can be considered for funds and technical guidance for various departments, without compromising on autonomy,” said Sarkar.
- Presidency University will seek Central, state and corporate assistance for development projects
- The university currently doesn’t have any management or technology courses that attract corporate interests
- The major development projects for which the university is looking for funds include upgradation of labs, library, new buildings for departments, renovation and maintenance of the main building and buying high-end technological instruments
- The West Bengal government will soon introduce the Presidency University (Amendment) Bill to bring necessary changes in its administration
Major development projects for which the University is looking for funds include upgradation of labs, library, new buildings for departments, renovation and maintenance of the main building and buying high-end instruments.
“To upgrade the university to international standards, we need basic infrastructural requirements like a new guest house and a good auditorium. Departments, too, need high-end instruments. For example, the geology department requires an yearly maintenance cost of about Rs 10 lakh,” said Joydip Mukherjee, head of the geology department.
The financial woes of the university do not end with infrastructural issues. The salary gap of the teaching faculty in the university vis-a-vis other national universities on an average is between Rs 10,000 and Rs 30,000. “This poses a serious problem of retaining good faculty in the university,” Mukherjee added.
The college, founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, was upgraded to a university through the Presidency University Act, 2010. After the Mamata Banerjee government took charge, a mentor group was formed as a brainchild of higher education minister Bratya Basu to look into the administrative and developmental aspects of the university. The mentor group is chaired by Harvard-based Sugata Bose, with Nobel laureate Amartya Sen as advisor.
Meanwhile, the state government will soon introduce the Presidency University (Amendment) Bill to bring necessary changes in its administration. This will lead to formation of a single governing board, compared to the two-tier governing body of other state universities. It will also create positions for six university professors and 15 department-wise heritage chair professors.