St Xavier’s plans satellite campus in Mumbai

MUMBAI: St Xavier’s College may look beyond its heritage Fort campus for expansion in its sesquicentennial year. The Jesuit Board plans to have the college’s first satellite campus in the city. And to realise this dream, the 150-year-old college has launched a massive fund-raising drive this year.

The extension campus will give a boost to the college’s aspiration to attain the university status it has been pursuing for a year, said principal Rajendra Shinde. The location of the satellite campus will be finalized based on the money the college manages to raise this year, he added.

The institute, one of the oldest in the city, is said to have been running into a loss of over Rs 1 crore every year in the recent past. A major chunk of the losses is going against paying the salaries of temporary teachers, Shinde mentioned. Also, the fees of aided courses offered by the college has remained the same for the last 30 years. To beat the existing fund crunch and to give shape to new projects, the institute may even look at partnering with industries, apart from reaching out to alumni.

The management has chalked out a plan for the next three decades. “Xavier’s 2050 is all about where we want to be in the coming years. Having a satellite campus is part of our vision. We have been looking at two to three locations, but it all depends on the funds,” said Fr Roy Pereira, who is overseeing the sesquicentennial celebrations. The college may also look at using some space in their sister institutions—St Xavier’s High School and St Mary’s School.

The institute plans to introduce several new courses at the proposed new campus, including starting a full-fledged commerce section. Currently, BCom is offered in the evenings at the Fort campus. Shortage of space in the existing has been a drawback for the college for starting few self-financed, sustainable courses. Shinde said that offering masters in at least six subjects is in the pipeline.

Among the short-term plans are raising endowment funds for six to seven faculty chairs, renovating the college hall, upgrading library and internet facilities and renovating the college’s human resource centre at Khandala. For the endowment chairs alone, the college has a target to raise Rs 1 crore. will be aimed at financing research and training to upgrade academic excellence of teachers in fundamental sciences and humanities.

A girls’ hostel with 300 beds is a long-pending project, which the management plans to take up this year. The hostel is likely to come up on the campus of one of the sister institutions. “Since we have many outstation students, hostel facility has become a priority,” said the principal.

Though some of the individual projects at the college have been funded by Godrej and Tata, the management never had a strong backing from any industrial house. “We plan to reach out to some (corporates) to support our projects,” said Pereira. The management is in the process of calculating their exact monetary requirement, he added.
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