BHUBANESWAR: It is now mandatory for the State Government-run universities to get themselves and their affiliated colleges accreditated from National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) if they want funds to flow from the University Grants Commission (UGC). NAAC grades are based on the quality of higher education institution.
Department of Higher Education (DHE) on Tuesday directed Vice-Chancellors (VCs) of Fakir Mohan University, North Orissa University, Utkal University, Berhampur University, Sambalpur University, Ravenshaw University and all the affiliated colleges under them to get their NAAC grades updated at the earliest.
Apparently, grades of many of the universities except North Odisha University have expired and they are yet to reaccredit themselves. North Odisha University’s NAAC grade ‘B’ is valid till December next year.
UGC this year had informed these universities that it is now mandatory for them to apply for assessment and accreditation as stipulated in the UGC Regulations, 2012 (mandatory assessment and accreditation of higher educational institutions) by June 1, 2014. Failure to do so may lead to discontinuation of financial assistance by UGC from April 1, 2015. However, none of these institutions has responded to the directive yet.
The decision holds significance with the State Government planning to implement Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA). Under RUSA, any Government-run higher education institution without NAAC accreditation will not receive funding.
Major part of the funding of Government run higher education institutions were taken over by RUSA from the UGC last year.
In a directive to the institutions on Tuesday, Secretary of Higher Education Department Gagan Dhal asked the VCs and principals to send their letter of intention (LoI) to the accreditation agency immediately and prepare self-study report for submission within six months. Further, they have to establish internal quality assurance cells which would look into the issue. “We have been asking these institutions to update their NAAC grades, which are essential for quality assurance, for the last one year. But many of them have not taken the issue seriously. They will not get any fund from either UGC or RUSA unless they undergo assessment by NAAC,” said Dhal.
He added that as getting accreditation takes time, the institutions have to send their LoIs for accreditation soon so that the UGC considers their case before implementation of RUSA.
Of 10 State universities, NAAC grades for Utkal, Sambalpur and Berhampur, have expired in 2007. Among the rest, Ravenshaw University, Fakir Mohan University, Sri Jagannath Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya and Utkal University of Culture are eligible for assessment, but are yet to apply.
Explaining delay in applying for NAAC, Utkal University VC Ashok Das said, “One of our main problems is that many departments are without faculty members. We are trying to meet the criterion identified by NAAC within another six months and then we will apply for accreditation.”