The state’s beleaguered private engineering and management institutes will soon get a boost in their battle to fill seats, with the West Bengal State Council of Higher Education (WBSCHE) all set to kick start a quality-assessment programme for colleges in the state.
“To help students understand which private engineering and management colleges have good academic standards and promote healthy competition among these institutes, we’ve decided to begin a quality-assessment process. No other Indian state has something like this. We hope to launch the initiative in November,” Abhijit Chakraborty, the council’s vice-chairman, told HT.
The programme will cover about 200 private colleges affiliated to the West Bengal University of Technology. Assessments will be based on the infrastructure, faculty, research work, human resource policies, budgets and overall governance of individual institutes.
Bengal has more than 85 private engineering colleges and, for the past few years, most have been struggling to fill seats. The council believes that ranking these institutes will help students understand which college is best before taking the plunge.
“We’ll upload the ranks on our website. The joint entrance board and the higher education department, too, may follow suit. This will lower the chances of students falling prey to false promises,” Chakarborty said.
The assessment will not be mandatory, but any institute unwilling to participate will be named as such in the list uploaded on the council’s website. The council also hopes to make the proposal attractive for the colleges as well, to ensure that most participate.
“To begin with, those who top the assessment chart won’t have problems getting students, while those with mid-segment ranks will learn which areas need work,” Chakraborty added.
While the mandatory All India Council for Technical Education approval for technical colleges only ensures that they meet minimum standards, the state’s quality assessment could help the institutes get several grants, too. “Our assessment will work as a warm-up for colleges looking for accreditation from the National Board of Accreditation which, in turn, ensures them several research grants and central government projects. Once they get accreditation, their students will gain a global footing,” Chakraborty said.