The ratings from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) continue to be a reality check for Bihar’s higher education institutions, with once famed colleges and universities tumbling down the ladder.
The latest to get an eye-opener from the NAAC is the 156-year old Patna College, the oldest institution under Patna University. It was ranked ‘C’, with an abysmal CGPA of 1.62.
Patna College principal SN Arya could not be contacted despite repeated attempts on his mobile number. A senior teacher associated with NAAC preparations of the college said that the principal had proceeded on long leave. Arya is due for retirement in February, 2020.
Set up in 1863, it was the first time the college, with an illustrious list of alumni comprising the likes of West Bengal former CM BC Roy, first chairman of the constituent Assembly of India, eminent poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, reputed historian RS Sharma, Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan and many others, went in for recognition.
The abysmal showing of Patna College, once known as ‘Oxford of the East’, has sent the alarm bells ringing for other PU institutions. The review is due for another famed institution, Science College, Patna on December 13-14, while Magadh Mahila College, which slipped from ‘A’ to ‘B’ grade few months ago is awaiting another review on request by the end of this month.
PU NAAC coordinator Parimal Khan said the institutions of Bihar would have to do a lot of catching up to meet the requirements as per new vigorous criteria. “In case of Patna College, the performance was poor on key parameters, viz. curricular aspects, teaching-learning evaluation, research, innovations extension, student support progression,” he added.
The CGPA is calculated based on the scores obtained from the three sources, viz. the system generated source (SGS) of the quantitative metrics which comprise about 70% of the total, the scores from the qualitative, critical appraisal by the peer team through on-site visit and the scores obtained on the student satisfaction survey.
These are collated through an automated procedure based on benchmarks for assessment on a seven point-scale, starting with A++, A+ and A, B++, B+ and B and C. Patna University had a couple of months ago barely managed ‘B+’, which is the highest grade for any state university in Bihar and speaks about the condition of higher education.
The Academic Staff College of PU was categorized non-performer, ranked 62nd out of 66 institutions assessed. It got just 36 marks, four short of the requirement even for the under performer category, while Patna Law College got ‘B’ grade.
Two big institutions of PU – BN College and Vanijya Mahavidyalay – had been earlier debarred due to alleged discrepancies in the self-status report (SSR) and unsatisfactory/ or lack of replies to the explanations sought on their claims by NAAC. However, on request, both institutions have now been given one more chance. “They are preparing to submit revised report within a month. We were at least prompt in making fresh request,” said Khan.
Around a dozen colleges of newly set up Pataliputra University were also unable to secure the minimum 30 percentage points out of 70 on the basis of SSR for quantitative matrix, the most important step for assessment, to qualify for the next stage of assessment by the peer team.
There was another big letdown for Gaya College, which was founded in 1944. It witnessed a steep fall from ‘A’ grade granted on earlier two occasions since 2008. It just managed to get ‘B’ grade with a CGPA of 2.04.
“There is a big challenge for the institutions awarded ‘A’ grade earlier under the new appraisal system, which is very vigorous and requires basics to be right. The bitter truth is that the website without syllabus, five-year question papers for students, activities’ calendar are missing from most university websites, though holiday calendar comes in advance. Vocational education continues to be a sham with abysmal placement,” admitted a senior PU professor, adding that at least NAAC rebuff should work as a wakeup call for the state institutions.