Mumbai: The Maharashtra government's push for accreditation of higher education institutes appears to have borne some fruits as 346 colleges got graded by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) in the one year period from July 2022 to June 2023.
Another 255 institutes are on their way to acquiring accreditation status as they have submitted their Self-Study Reports (SSR) to NAAC in this period, revealed Vikas Chandra Rastogi, Principal Secretary, Higher and Technical Education Department. However, the state still has a long way to go, as only 1,168 out of over 3,000 traditional, non-professional colleges and 21 out of over 40 universities has so far acquired the NAAC tag.
NAAC is an autonomous body established by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to evaluate higher education institutes in the country on various criteria including teaching-learning, research and infrastructure. The accreditation status is broadly used for understanding the quality status of an institution and is a prerequisite for getting autonomy.
The government has been promoting NAAC assessment among colleges to improve the quality of education in colleges. In March, the state had issued a stern letter, asking colleges to initiate the accreditation process and threatening to stop admissions at non-graded institutes.
While underscoring that 'quality' is one of the key objectives of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, Rastogi said that the government is focussing on getting colleges accreditated and entrusting more colleges with autonomy. The state currently has 157 autonomous institutes, with 25 of them recently been awarded 'empowered' autonomy status, which allows them to issue degrees, start new courses and form their own curriculum and evaluation methodology.