The mandatory National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) ratings are nowhere on the priority list of the higher education institutions in Uttar Pradesh, despite their poor performance.
Ample illustration of this is the fact that almost all state universities and a large number of affiliated colleges across the state are still flaunting their expired accreditation.
Of the eleven state universities, only two universities—Bundelkhand University and Kashi Vidyapeeth—have valid NAAC ratings while for nine others, it stands expired. The situation is no better for colleges affiliated to these universities. According to official figures, NAAC ratings have expired in 75 colleges and are valid in 305 across the state.
Significantly, the University Grants Commission (UGC), the highest education regulatory body, mandated the assessment of higher education institutions in the country through NAAC grading earlier this year. Consequently, every institution had to apply for NAAC rating every five years.
Given the fact that the accreditation of most of the educational institutions had expired, the state government conducted a meeting on March 2 and 3 this year. This meeting decided that the process of conducting NAAC grading across the state would be conducted within six months. But things did not move forward. “The universities and colleges are deliberately not coming forward for the NAAC rating. It would expose their abysmal state of affairs,” said former president, Lucknow University Affiliated Colleges Teacher’s Association (LUACTA), Maulendu Misra.
NAAC is an autonomous body of UGC, to assess and accredit higher education institutions in the country. Despite clear guidelines by UGC, state universities, including Lucknow University, chose to sleep over the issue, probably because the successive managements felt that the institutions would draw criticism if they fared poorly. Lucknow University has not taken any steps to get a rating for six years now.
As for the process, all the institutions need to apply for the NAAC rating and submit a selfstudy report (SSR). It is followed by an inspection by an NAAC team to assess the institutions. Facilities like infrastructure, faculty and research are the main factors that decide an NAAC rating.
“They do not have proper faculty, forget about the infrastructure. As for research, the colleges are not allowed to conduct research programmes. This is why the institutions hesitate to apply for NAAC ratings,” Misra pointed out.
This is also one of the reasons why the universities have not been getting adequate funds from various central and state agencies. An official of the state higher education council, responsible for monitoring NAAC ratings in the state, said that the process would be completed soon.