Sans NAAC grade, 26 colleges in Odisha struggle to regain autonomy

Without autonomous status, the colleges cannot design their own syllabus, prepare their own admissions and conduct examinations.
Berhampur University. (Photo | Express)
Berhampur University. (Photo | Express)

BHUBANESWAR: Twenty-six out of 30 colleges that have lost their autonomous status are now faced with a peculiar problem. They have to secure a good National Accreditation Assessment Council (NAAC) grade to have their autonomy restored.

As per the revised autonomy norms of the University Grants Commission (UGC), the autonomous status of colleges that currently have NAAC ‘A’ grades will be automatically renewed for a period of 10 years. Colleges not having ‘A’ grade will have to score to get autonomous status back.

Expiry of autonomous status deprives colleges of designing their own syllabus, restructuring and introducing courses, preparing their own admission rules and conducting their own exams. Of the 30 autonomous colleges, 13 are run by the government and 17 are aided. The parent universities of the colleges are Berhampur, Fakir Mohan, North Odisha, Sambalpur, Utkal and Rama Devi Women’s Universities.

In the last decade, according to a recent report of UGC, four colleges under Berhampur University, one each under Fakir Mohan and Maharaja Sriram Chandra Bhanja Deo University (MSCB University), six under Sambalpur University, and the highest 14 under Utkal university have lost their autonomous status and have not renewed it yet.

Among the popular colleges in the list are BJB College, Rourkela Govt college and Bhawanipatna Govt college, Kendrapara college, SVM college at Jagatsinghpur and Nayagarh College.“So any college that applies to renew its autonomous status now will be given one based on its accreditation and assessment scores.It will be rejected if the college does not have an A grade,” said an official of the Higher Education department, requesting anonymity.

As per the UGC (Conferment of Autonomous Status upon Colleges and Measures for Maintenance of Standards in Autonomous Colleges) Regulations, 2023, colleges that have secured a minimum ‘A’ grade by NAAC shall only be granted autonomous status.Of the 26 colleges without autonomous status at present, only BJB college, Shailabala Women’s college at Cuttack, Prannath college at Khurda, SCS College at Puri, Bhadrak college and Kendrapara college have a valid NAAC ‘A’ grade. The rest is in B++, B or C categories.

The UGC norms also state that once the autonomy expires, the parent university takes over the college’s examination procedure. However, officials of the department said, except for Berhampur University, no other varsity has done so despite the autonomy of colleges under them expiring many years back.BJB college principal Prof Gulam Moinuddin Khan said the institution has already applied for autonomy renewal through Utkal university and the latter has already conducted an academic audit for the purpose.
Sources in the Utkal university said renewal applications of some of the colleges under it are under process.

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