KOCHI: Maintaining and availing UGC recognition could prove to be a herculean task for six universities in the state as they do not have a valid NAAC accreditation at present.
Kerala University, Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), Central University of Kerala, Kannur University, Kerala Kalamandalam and Shree Shankaracharya University of Sanskrit could come under University Grants Commission’s (UGC) scrutiny for further approval of grants in the coming year, owing to delay in accreditation process.
UGC, in March last year, had notified that higher education institutions, other than those for technical, medical and agricultural studies, which have either completed six years or have graduated two batches are required to take accreditation from an accrediting agency. If this is not complied with, UGC could restrict the allowance of grants or, worse, repeal the recognition.
Sources at the National Assessment and Accreditation Agency (NAAC),the body that accredits the institutions, said that only three universities had initiated the process for accreditation within the deadline that expired in June.
Kerala University and CUSAT, whose accreditation expired in 2009 and 2011 respectively, have applied for a renewal, while the Sanskrit varsity has applied for it the first time.
“We submitted a letter of intent (LOI) and a self study report (SSR) before NAAC and received its response which contained some suggestions. Within a few months, we shall receive the accreditation,” said K Poulose Jacob, Pro-Vice Chancellor, CUSAT.
Though they have applied for it, any delay in further proceedings could prove to be risky as the accreditation process is time consuming. With only nine months left for UGC to take action against those without accreditation and NAAC being the only body to accredit such universities in the entire country, the delay could cost them dear.
“The process could take anytime between four and twelve months. Though it is easier for universities to get it done than colleges, they cannot take it for granted. Unless the accrediting body is convinced that the universities have complied with UGC regulations, it will not approve their application,” said a NAAC official.
Meanwhile, Central University, Kannur University and Kerala Kalamandalam, which too are up for accreditation, are not on the list of applicants. However, in a late move, Kannur University forwarded its application three weeks ago.
“The University submitted a LOI only three weeks ago. We are awaiting their response following which we would go ahead with the procedures,” said K Balachandran, Registrar, Kannur University.
The authorities of two other universities said that they need more time to apply for the accreditation as they need to fulfill the pre-requisites specified by UGC.
Of the two, Kerala Kalamandalam faces yet another roadblock. “To be eligible for a NAAC accreditation, the UGC specifies that we should have postings as per its regulations. We follow a Gurukula system of education and the faculties’ qualification is not like that of other universities,” said P N Suresh, VC, Kerala Kalamandalam.