Utkal University slips in NAAC grade, Govt plans review



: State’s premier university

Utkal University

has slipped from A+ to A grade in the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) scores. The university has scored 3.16 cumulative grade point average (CGPA) to secure grade A while it has secured A+ grade with 3.53 CGPA in 2016.

While university authorities are tightlipped about the latest score, academicians said, ‘it’s ok to score A, though it needs improvement’, but students and netizens call it an ‘embarrassment’. Higher education department is planning to file an appeal over the assessment before the council and conduct an internal review of what went wrong for the drop in grade.

“There are various reasons for which the scores dropped. One of the major reasons is that the appointment of teachers has been sub judice leading to delay. We will certainly try to find out where the lapses are and what went wrong,” said Rohit Pujari, higher education minister.

Vice chairman of Odisha Higher Education Council and former vice-chancellor of Utkal University,

Ashok Das

said, “Anything above A is good and there is nothing so disappointing. However, this is an alert signal for the authorities to get complacent and continue their efforts for improvement.”

NAAC assessors said, the system of assessment by NAAC has changed over the years and is being conducted in several phases on varied yardsticks and criteria. “After a series of assessments by different teams and third-party evaluation by the reports the grades are uploaded by NAAC for any educational institute. An institute is eligible for A+ if it secures 3.25 DGPA, so the difference is of a few points, which can be improved,” said Prof Siba Prasad Adhikary, former faculty at Utkal University and former vice chancellor of Fakir Mohan University, Balasore and a NAAC assessor.

However, Adhikary expressed concern over the large number of vacant teaching posts in the in the university affecting research, paper publication and participation in international conferences.

The major challenges the university has been facing are shortage of teaching and non-teaching staff, not many research papers, fewer innovations and publications, limited consultancy work, lack of diversity of students, limited university industry linkages.

“After knowing the NAAC scores, I am feeling bad. Universities are the backbone of a society and a nation. It is high time the government must take a serious note of the matter and take steps,” said Rajesh Swain, a student.

The NAAC assessment is carried out based on seven parameters – curriculum, teaching learning and evaluation methods, research, innovation extension activities, infrastructure and learning resources, student support and progression, governance, leadership and management and institutional management and best practices.

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