Monday, November 24, 2014

Maharashtra home to most accredited colleges, second highest number of certified varsities

Nearly 85% of the 34,852 colleges in the country have not gone through the mandatory assessment process by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), and over one-third of the 642 universities (71%) remain unaccredited.

The lack of quality check in a majority of institutes of higher education has been revealed in the latest Deloitte report on the annual status of higher education in states and union territories. For Maharashtra, however, the situation is much better as it has the highest number of accredited colleges in the country, followed by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The state also has the distinction of most numbers of accredited universities, second only to Tamil Nadu. Though Tamil Nadu has 27 accredited universities, the highest in numbers, percentage wise, it is next to Maharashtra.

According to the report, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Assam are the top three states in terms of percentage of universities accredited at 52, 46 and 44 respectively. Jharkhand, Haryana and Bihar are at the bottom with 8%, 14% and 15% respectively. Similarly, Assam, Punjab and Haryana are the top three states when it comes to percentage of colleges accredited at 67, 61 and 57 respectively, while Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar are the bottom three.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has made it mandatory for all colleges and varsities to go in for accreditation for grants. Rohin Kapoor, Senior Manager of Deloitte India, said the sheer number of institutes in the country makes it difficult for the agency to carry out assessment. "There are close to 35,000 institutes and 650 universities in the country. The numbers go up every year," said Kapoor. "Since it is mandatory now, many colleges have been submitting their assessment reports. It will take time for the agency to process all. The government should allow private agencies to assist NAAC. The policies should encourage a public-private partnership model for evaluating institutes in the country," he said.

Kapoor added that the data used from the website NAAC (2011-12) was the latest from the government available for the study. Many colleges have gone for accreditation post 2011-12, but the number of new institutes has also jumped in the last three years. Around 570 colleges went in for accreditation in 2012, 687 in 2013 and 517 in 2014 till date.

H. Devaraj, Vice-Chairman of UGC, said, "The UGC has sanctioned 25 new posts at NAAC, which is awaiting approval from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). Once that is done, the staff strength will go up to 50. The NAAC is also planning to set up six to seven regional centres that will be equipped to grant accreditation to colleges/universities. The increase in the number of staff will help clearing backlog and expedite the process." He predicted the number will improve in the next two years.

"Most of the unaided colleges affiliated to the Mumbai University are the usual defaulters as they do not have approved staff and their infrastructure is not in place," said M A Khan, Registrar, Mumbai University. The most important parameter for accreditation is to have approved faculty on board, which institutes lack, he added. The MU has recently attached all the benefits granted to colleges to their accredited status. "We allow colleges to increase divisions, seats, or to set up a new course if they are accredited or have applied for re-accreditation," said Khan.

Source: The Times of India, November 24, 2014

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