The Rot in JK’s Higher Education

Of 100 colleges across state, just 15 institutions are NAAC certified, resulting in loss of crores of rupees to the sector annually

Syed Rizwan Geelani
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jul 23 2018 12:11AM | Updated Date: Jul 23 2018 12:11AM
The Rot in JK’s Higher EducationFile Photo

Signifying failure of the state government to maintain standards in higher education, just 15 of 100 degrees colleges “functioning” across the state have National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) accreditation. Of 53 colleges in Kashmir division just 10 have the accreditation while as there are only five NAAC certified colleges of the total 47 institutions in Jammu. The colleges having valid NAAC accreditation in Kashmir are Amar Singh, SP, Nawa Kadal and Bemina colleges; Boys Degree Colleges in Baramulla, Sopore and Kupwara and Degrees Colleges in Pulwama, Shopian and Islamia College Srinagar. The colleges with NAAC accreditation in Jammu are GGM Science College, College of education Jammu, Boys Degree Colleges Udhampur and Rajouri and GDC Poonch. “The less number of colleges with NAAC accreditation speaks volumes about poor performance of these colleges as well as the department,” said an official. As per the information accreditation of Women's College MA Road Srinagar, College of Education Srinagar and Degree College Anantnag expired in 2017, while as accreditation of Women's Degree College Baramulla expired in 2014. But there has been no effort on part of the authorities concerned to get the NAAC certificate revalidated. A Degree College becomes eligible for NAAC accreditation only after it has functioned for five years. The NAAC is an organisation that assesses and accredits higher education Institutions-Degree Colleges and Universities in India. It is an autonomous body funded by University Grants Commission (UGC). A college being accredited signifies that it has met certain standards of excellence across its operations. Apart from making an educational institution eligible to grants from union government there are three major benefits for students if a college has an accreditation. The accreditation of a college is renewed after every five years. While many colleges are not eligible for accreditation yet there is no effort on part of the authorities to get even those colleges certified which are already eligible, thus resulting in loss of crore of rupees to these institutions. This only goes to show lack of accountability within the system,” said the official, adding that securing the accreditation for a college is not a cake walk but a “long drawn and tedious process” is to be followed for it. Another official said the reason for less NAAC accredited colleges in the state can be because these colleges have more deficiencies than facilities available for students. “Earlier the NAAC accreditation process was not so tough. But now when a college applies for accreditation through Institutional Eligibility of Quality Assessment (IEQA) through a proper format they are asked to overcome deficiencies which are clearly given in HRD approved forms which are to be submitted for accreditation,” said the official. Even Kashmir University (KU), the oldest varsity in J&K doesn’t have NAAC accreditation today. The official said the varsity’s accreditation expired in 2017 which in turn had an adverse impact on the institution in getting funding under centrally sponsored scheme like Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA). Contrary to it, Islamic University of Science and Technology which is NAAC certified got Rs 20 core funding under RUSA in Project Approval Board (PAB) meeting convened in New Delhi recently. For past one decade, the official said number of colleges has almost doubled as dozens of these colleges were established under various centrally sponsored schemes. But around two dozen colleges are functioning from make shift arrangements in government schools or rented accommodation. These colleges have been sanctioned almost a decade ago but are yet to have their own building. Citing example the official said Women's College Kupwara is functioning from 9 rooms of a middle school. Out of these nine rooms only five are used as classrooms for over 600 girl students enrolled in the college. The college was sanctioned as one of the model Degree Colleges under centrally sponsored scheme- ‘Establishment of Model Degree Colleges in Educationally Backward Districts’ in 2011. The government Degree College Hadipora was approved by cabinet for Rafiaabad constituency in 2008 under state plan. But the college is operating in make shift arrangements from Higher Secondary School Hadipora. Similarly, Bagh-e-Dilawar Khan College Srinagar was setup under state plan some eight years ago. However the college, which is operating from three rooms of M P higher secondary school, has failed to attract students. There are other colleges which have neither manpower nor infrastructure of Degree Colleges and have thus failed to attract students. After failing to provide permanent accommodation to already existing colleges, the previous regime had decided to establish 26 more Degree Colleges in state. And it was decided that these colleges will be made functional from current year in rented accommodations. However, the process has been now stonewalled by finance department owing to lack of financial concurrence to establish these institutions. “Instead of establishing new colleges in rented rooms, the government should pay attention towards existing colleges to improve academic standards as well as infrastructural facilities in these institutions,” said the official. Director Colleges Zahoor Ahmad Chatt said “some” of the colleges operating from rented buildings would be soon shifted to permanent buildings. “The construction of maximum college buildings is at final stage,” he said.

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