KOTTAYAM: Former chairman of the UGC’s National Assessment and Accreditation Council Dr Rajan Gurukkal has expressed doubts over the objectivity of the yardsticks the UGCs has employed to accord autonomous status to universities and colleges saying there are possibilities of the process being susceptible to corruption. There are chances of unsubstantiated claims creeping into the peer review assessment report, Dr Gurukkal, who is also the vice-chairman of the Kerala State Higher Education Council, told DC.
“The college may not be able to provide evidential report to the NAAC team on every detail due to practical difficulties. Though the NAAC used to entrust some independent agency to verify the credentials in the peer review report, some of the claims could not be ascertained and hence the objectivity of the report could be doubted.”
There are also chances of the institutions “managing” the inspection teams, he said. Dr Gurukkal was reacting to the UGC decision last week conferring autonomous status to 60 higher educational institutions that have maintained “high academic standards”. They include 21 state universities, five central universities, 26 private universities and 10 colleges. The list included Jadhavpur University, Andhra University, Alagappa University, University of Madras and the central universities, including JNU, New Delhi and the English and Foreign Languages University, Telangana However, no institution from Kerala was on it.
The autonomous status will help the institutions in starting new courses, departments, programmes, off-campuses and research packages. They will also get the right to appoint foreign faculty, take foreign students and collaborate with the leading 500 universities across the globe. The standard of any institution in Kerala cannot be judged from the assessment made by the NAAC for granting them autonomy. At least a few institutions in the state had better standards than those got autonomy now, he said. However, he admitted that the knowledge base of the teaching faculty in the state was not enough. “There is no institution here which can claim an 'institutional high culture' similar to that of Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi,” he said.