With no separate allocation of funds by the Higher Education Department (HED), the government arts and science colleges and government colleges of education are finding it difficult to source funds for applying for the accreditation process by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).
According to NAAC, these colleges have to pay between ₹3 lakh and ₹3.6 lakh, along with 18% GST for the accreditation process. This includes an initial fee of ₹25,000 for ‘Institutional Information for Quality Assessment (IIQA),’ followed by ₹1.5 lakh towards logistics for the peer team’s visit, and another ₹1.85 lakh or ₹1.25 lakh as ‘Accreditation and Assessment Fee’, depending on whether a college offers courses in a single or multiple disciplines.
Principals of a few government colleges The Hindu spoke to said that while the HED wanted the colleges to make use of the ‘accumulated funds’ available with them, the funds under this account head were often grossly inadequate to manage NAAC-related expenditure.
“The accumulated funds, for instance, include whatever was left from the application fees collected by the colleges or the funds available with the alumni association. However, a majority of the colleges have only a meagre amount left,” said the Principal of a government arts and science college in a western district.
“A fraction of the amount paid will be reimbursed by NAAC. However, we have to make the payment first. The situation is really difficult,” he added.
There are 92 government arts and sciences colleges and seven government colleges of education in the State. In addition to these, 14 constituent colleges of various universities were recently converted into government colleges. Sources from the HED said that 35 of these colleges were yet to get NAAC accreditation, while 15 other colleges were not yet eligible for accreditation since they had been in existence for less than five years.
J. Suresh, joint general secretary, Tamil Nadu Government Collegiate Teachers’ Association, said that a majority of these roughly 35 colleges were in the process of applying for NAAC accreditation. “The remaining government colleges are also in different cycles of the NAAC accreditation process,” he said, adding that the government must consider making a separate allocation of funds for the process.
Pointing out that NAAC accreditation had become necessary for colleges to receive funds, particularly through schemes like the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), the Principal of a college in Madurai region said the colleges had made multiple appeals to the Directorate of Collegiate Education through the Regional Joint Directors for the release of funds.
Acknowledging that there was no separate allocation of funds for the NAAC process, a senior official from the HED said the problem will be addressed soon.