CHENNAI: The 175-year-old Presidency College in Chennai, which is south India’s first educational institution, has been operating without the accreditation of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) for the past six years.
Though a voluntary certification, its absence is said to have resulted in freezing of grants from the University Grants Commission and the Union government for the college, leaving it to fend for itself and struggle for funds, college officials say. The college is now making desperate attempts to again get accredited and is preparing a self-study programme (SSP). Principal T Pramananda Perumal said the SSP is likely to be submitted by November and an NAAC team may visit in December.
“The idea is to get the NAAC accreditation before the start of the next academic year. Our autonomous status is valid for 2017-18. Since all financial grants are linked to the NAAC accreditation, we are facing difficulties in seeking funds. Hopefully, everything will be sorted out soon,” he told The Sunday Standard.
Asked why there was such a big lapse, he attributed the crisis to mistakes committed during the tenure of his predecessors. The accounts were not maintained properly. The expenditure statements were not in accordance with the UGC requirements and questions were raised.
“We are trying to address all issues. The Internal Quality Assurance Committee (IQAC) has been formed and an UGC coordinator has been appointed. The annual quality assurance report (AQAR) is also being prepared,” he said. In 1998, the college was accredited with four stars by the NAAC and in March 2005, the NAAC re-accredited the college and awarded the grade ‘A’ (85 per cent to 90 per cent), which expired in 2010. Since then, the college made little efforts to get the re-accreditation. Interestingly, it was one of the first institutes to get autonomous status way back in 1987.
The college also couldn’t use the `5-crore grant given for its 175th year celebration as it lacked the NAAC’s stamp. The college was reportedly asked to refund the amount along with interest, since it remained non-utilised.
Another challenge was the frequency at which principals kept changing. In the last 15 years, there were 13 principals, of which six were in-charge principals. “If the head of the institution is not holding the post for at least two years, such administrative lacunae are bound to happen. In the recent past, Pramananda Perumal is the longest serving principal. He took charge in September 2014 and has been showing lot of interest to set right things,” said CV Chittibabu, associate professor, Department of Plant Biology, Presidency College.
Lone Urdu Course Aspirant Told to Take Physics
Chennai: Gone are those days when Mushaira sessions (social gatherings dedicated to Urdu poetry) permeated the air at the Urdu department of the Presidency College here. The situation in which the century-old department finds itself today is a far cry from its glorious past.
With no teaching faculty to run the department over the past two years, the lone student who joined merely a few months ago was shifted to BSc Physics, leaving the Urdu department facing the prospect of imminent closure.
Ever since Yasmeen Ahmed, associate professor and head of the only academic department in Tamil Nadu to offer co-education undergraduate Urdu major, retired in 2014-15 academic year, his post has remained vacant with not even guest faculty to keep the course running. When contacted, the principal of Presidency College, T Pramananda Perumal, said that the college had already forwarded the vacancies list to the state government, which is the sole authority for appointing permanent staff.