Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University is to start a rating system for all its affiliated colleges.

This is the first time that any attempt is being made to provide a rating to colleges offering medical and allied subject courses in the State.

“All the 336 affiliated colleges will be assessed on a set of criteria, and the performance of the college against all these parameters will be used to give it a star rating,” University Vice-Chancellor Mayilvahanan Natarajan told The Hindu. He added that engineering colleges have long had the rating system that helps students decide on colleges and courses.

Under the umbrella of the university are 24 medical colleges, 25 dental colleges, 233 colleges offering allied health sciences, 30 colleges offering Indian Medicine and Homeopathy, and 16 other institutions. Additionally, this year, a number of institutions, including hospitals, have been affiliated to offer certificate courses in medical and allied subjects, bringing up the total to 336.

The key criteria include reputation of the college, the quality of academic input, student care, infrastructure and placement opportunities provided. Other details are pass percentage, paper presentations and research conducted by faculty members and students, canteen facilities and tie-ups with foreign institutions.

“We have contracted a market research agency, Nielsen, to carry out the rating, since we wanted to keep it objective and professional. However, our faculty and experts will constantly advise the agency about various aspects regarding the parameters and guide the conduct of the process too,” he added.

The research is to be conducted in three phases. The first phase will rank medical and dental colleges; the second, nursing; and the final phase, colleges of pharmacy and physiotherapy. In the end, a ranking list will be provided for the entire sets of colleges. Individual colleges will also be rated. The varsity has expressed the hope that the rating exercise will be completed before admissions for the next academic year.

“If any college is found lacking, we will send our own team to inspect and ask the institution to comply with the required standards. However, if the college fails to do so, we will disaffiliate it,” Dr. Mayilvahanan added.