Vikash Sharma

The Odisha Higher Education department has written to senior officers, who are in charge of 13 universities in the State, to streamline self-financing courses (SFCs).

The missive came after Odisha Governor and Chancellor of Universities, Professor Ganeshi Lal directed all the State Public Universities not to allow any new Self Finance Courses (SFCs) on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode.

The Chancellor of Universities has asked the institutions to refrain from launching any such courses from the ensuing academic year 2022-23.

In a letter to registrars of universities on Tuesday, Principal Secretary to the Chancellor, Saswat Mishra said, “The Chancellor has expressed his serious concern regarding the manner in which SFCs are currently being run in State Public Universities; especially the way Self Finance Courses tend to over-shadow the 'Regular Courses' of the Universities concerned.”

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Other directions issued by the Chancellor to streamline Self Finance Courses:

- State Public Universities should fully concentrate on running high-quality 'Regular Courses' to benefit students of the 'Regular Courses' who normally hail from economically weaker households.

- The universities may consider running, to a limited extent, a few Self Finance Courses if there is a need.

- The student strength of all SFCs (Direct as well as PPP mode) put together shall not exceed 20% of the total student strength of all Regular Courses. For example, if a University has a student strength of 600 per year in all Regular Courses taken together, it can run SFCs for maximum intake student strength of 120 per year.

- If the current student strength of SFCs in any University is more than the ceiling mentioned above, the same must be brought down to the prescribed ceiling limit w.e.f 2022-23 Academic Year by reducing the number of SFC seats and/or by discontinuing some not so well-performing SFCs.

- Every SFC, which is currently running, shall be critically reviewed by the University Syndicate/ Board of Management and a suitable decision should be taken by the Syndicate/Board of Management within 30.06.2022 regarding continuance or discontinuance of these SFCS, as the case may be. The SFCs which will be discontinued shall not have any fresh student admission from the academic year 2022-23. These SFCs will continue only for one more year or two more years, as the case may be, till passing out of the last batch of already admitted students.

- Subject to the ceiling of student strength mentioned above, new SFCs can be started in the future by Universities as per need. However, all new SFCs must run in 'Direct Mode'. New SFCs in 'PPP Mode' shall not be permitted at all. (Direct mode means where a SFC is run by a University directly by itself without involvement of any private organisation. Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode means where a SFC is run by a University through or in collaboration with a private organization.)

- Admission of students into SFCs must be made through an open and merit-based selection process.