University of Kerala has three months to give assessment reports for 5 years

More than six years after it began its faltering attempts to get reaccredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) of the University Grants Commission (UGC), the University of Kerala now appears to be within earshot of that goal.

The UGC has recently accepted the Letter of Intention for reaccreditation submitted by the varsity, and given it three months to submit the Annual Quality Assessment Reports for five years beginning 2008-09. Initially, UGC officials insisted that the varsity recover and submit along with the letter a 1955-vintage document which states that the commission had granted recognition to the University of Kerala. When it finally became clear to the university that it did not have this document even for its first accreditation in 2003, varsity officials managed to convince the UGC to accept Plan fund documents in place of the recognition certificate.

Gabriel Simon Thattil, director of the University’s Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC), told The Hindu that he hoped to collect all necessary inputs from the 42 teaching departments of the varsity to be submitted to the UGC. This, he admitted, was easier said than done. “However, I am confident that we will be able to submit all necessary documents to the UGC within the stipulated time,” he said.

In 2003, when the university was given a none-too-flattering B++ rating by the NAAC, it was a open secret that this was primarily owing to the fact that only 15 or so of the then-41 teaching departments were found to have turned in a satisfactory performance. In 2004, the NAAC mandated the setting up of an IQAC in each university. The University of Kerala formed a 20-member cell only in 2006. Since then, successive directors of the cell have spent more time chasing department heads for information than anything else.

Even more worrying than the indifferent attitude of many department heads to the process associated with the reaccreditation is the fact that the varsity still does not have any quality assurance mechanism to assess the inputs given by various departments, and take reformative action where required. Getting a higher rating during reaccreditation is certainly not a done deal for the varsity.