The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NACC), in its analysis of higher education institutions (HEIs) in Maharashtra, observed that accredited colleges, on an average, showed better performance in terms of infrastructure and resources. However, it was average in categories like research, innovation and extension. The rural-urban divide also stood out in the performance.
Colleges in rural areas showed stunted growth and performance due to financial constraints, paucity of faculty and the non-availability of qualified teachers. Such colleges usually run on a grant-in-aid basis.
On the other hand, colleges in urban areas, especially in Mumbai, Pune and Nashik, showed better performance in infrastructure and resources. Colleges like Fergusson College, Pune, or Patkar-Varde College, Mumbai, or KTHM College, Nashik, have resources. They are a fit case for autonomous status. Birla College, Mumbai, has facilities with state and national level awards for contribution to NCC. Chembur College, Mumbai, has set up MIS. Many colleges with PG centres enjoy high research output.
According to NAAC, an all-sided high performance of urban colleges has given them confidence to aspire for higher benchmarks and also placed them in high slots of the National Institute Ranking Framework. A good number of A grade colleges in urban areas are expected to opt for autonomy. It has to be noted that A grade colleges in the hinterland district and smaller places in Maharashtra also have been performing well. However, they have not stepped forward to obtain autonomy. The reasons need to be investigated. Help and guidance should be extended for uniform quality outcomes.
Even though annual internal and external financial audit is an established practice in all government-aided colleges, a regular external annual academic audit is not an established practice in most.
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