Raise the bar! Govt colleges urged to get higher NAAC grade for central aid

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Thiruvananthapuram: Universities and colleges in government sector in Kerala should strive to obtain higher grading from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) so that they could get funding from the Centre, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Tuesday.

At present, only 29 government colleges have NAAC accreditation and the numbers have to be increased, he said, inaugurating 47 building projects completed at various institutions of higher learning in the state.

"Only such institutions (with higher NAAC grading) were eligible for funds from the Central Government under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA)," he said during the function held through video conferencing.

According to the state Higher Education Department website, there are over 300 higher education institutions in Kerala.

RUSA, a scheme of the Human Resource Development Ministry, provides central funding to state higher education departments and institutions to achieve the broad objectives of access, equity and excellence.

The NAAC, an autonomous body funded by the University Grants Commission (UGC), evaluates the higher education institutions to assess the quality status in terms of their performance related to the educational processes, curriculum coverage, teaching-learning processes and various other parameters and accordingly grades them.

The projects inaugurated on Tuesday were part of the LDF governments commitment to improve the basic infrastructure and the standard of the higher education sector in the state while ensuring social justice, Vijayan was quoted as saying in a release.

About Rs 64 crore was spent on the projects spread across the state, he said, adding these included smart classrooms, labs, libraries, hostels for girl students, solar energy labs, incubation centres and community skill centres of world standards.

Among them, one project each was at the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), Kannur and MG and Calicut Universities. Three Community Skill Parks and fifteen government arts and science colleges also got new buildings.

The chief minister also informed that a state-level quality assurance cell has been set up under the Department of Higher Education.

Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) funding has been sanctioned for projects worth Rs.700 crore for the infrastructure development and academic development of colleges.

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