NAAC reality check for Bihar institutions: Glorious past can’t determine present status
The state universities and colleges were driven to go in for accreditation from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and a lot of money was spent on preparation, but the outcome has exposed the harsh reality on quality matrix.
Of the six accredited state universities as on August 2019, none has got ‘A’ or even ‘B++’ grade.
Patna University (PU) is the highest ranked state university with B+ grade, while four others got B grade and one C. Only Central University of South Bihar (CUSB) and Chanakya National Law University (CNLU), which is exclusively for law, have got ‘A’ rank.
Of the 128 colleges accredited, 27 have got ‘C’ grade, which is the last category on a seven-grade NAAC scale, below which institutions do not qualify for accreditation. Only eight colleges have got ‘A’ grade, while 78 colleges have got ‘B’, 14 ‘B+” and one ‘B++’ There was no college in the A++ or A+ category.
Many of these colleges were accredited before the new and more vigorous accreditation system came into force in 2018 and might witness change when their time comes for revalidation a year or two later.
What is worrying is that even the premiere PU seems to be struggling with its once highly esteemed colleges. “Past glory cannot be a yardstick for present assessment. If the institution flaunts past glory, it is more worrying why it has been allowed to slip consistently over the years. Glorious past can be an inspiration, not an alibi,” said an NAAC official in course of visit to one of the PU colleges.
The Academic Staff College of PU was categorised non-performer, ranked 62nd of 66 institutions assessed. It got just 36 marks — four short of the requirement even for the under performer category.
Two big institutions of PU — BN College and Vanijya Mahavidyalay — have been debarred for a year due to alleged discrepancies in the self-status report (SSR) and unsatisfactory or lack of replies to the explanations sought on their claims by NAAC. They can now apply afresh only after a year.
Around a dozen colleges of newly set up Pataliputra University, including three in chief minister Nitish Kumar’s native Nalanda region, were also unable to secure the minimum 30 percentage points of 70 on the basis of SSR for quantitative matrix, the most important step for assessment, to qualify for the next stage of assessment by the peer team.
They too can now apply afresh only after six months. However, under the prevailing conditions, a senior Pataliputra University admitted that a different outcome should not be expected for most of them. “Most of the 12 colleges fared badly due to acute shortage of teachers and the resultant impact on research and opening of new courses. The colleges applied for NAAC as there was pressure, though the ground realities are known to all,” he added.
Two of Bihar’s premiere institutions — Science College, Patna and Patna College — have NAAC peer team visits scheduled in October and November and the authorities are keeping their fingers crossed.
The CGPA is calculated based on the scores obtained from the three sources, viz. the system generated source (SGS) of the quantitative metrics which comprise about 70% of the total, the scores from the qualitative, critical appraisal by the peer team through on-site visit and the scores obtained on the student satisfaction survey. These are collated through an automated procedure based on benchmarks for assessment on a seven-point scale, starting with A++, A+ and A, B++, B+ and B and C.