Mumbai: The Higher and Technical Education Department of the Maharashtra government is intensifying efforts to implement the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 in colleges across the state. In a bid to ensure the quality of education, the department has made it mandatory for all institutions to complete the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) grading. Those colleges failing to comply with this directive may face significant consequences.
To enforce this rule, the department has devised a three-step strategy. First, colleges will receive a show cause notice, warning them of the impending action. Subsequently, a list of non-NAAC-graded colleges will be published on university websites to inform students and parents. Finally, these colleges will be advertised in local newspapers, further discouraging admissions.
Shailendra Deolankar, Director of Higher Education, explained, "We came up with the three-step action programme, which includes sending a show cause notice to the colleges, publishing a list of colleges that do not have NAAC grading on the websites of the universities and also asking to publish an advertisement in newspapers about the colleges that do not have NAAC grading."
The decision to enforce NAAC grading was reached during a meeting with the vice-chancellors of Sant Tukdoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Gondwana University, Gadchiroli, and Sant Gadgebaba Amravati University. The higher education department had earlier directed universities in the state to de-affiliate colleges without NAAC accreditation.
In February, the state government mandated that all institutions submit institutional information for quality assessment (IIQA) to the NAAC office by March 31. Following this, colleges were required to provide an action taken report by September 7. However, none of the state's universities have submitted the requested report, prompting the department to take a stricter stance.
Deolankar issued a letter instructing university vice-chancellors to attend meetings with the Principal Secretary of the Higher and Technical Education Department to address the issue. Meetings were held in Pune on September 8, where the department expressed dissatisfaction with the universities' reluctance to take action against non-compliant colleges.
The state government's goal is to implement NEP 2020 in all colleges across Maharashtra, starting with the academic year 2024-2025. Maharashtra currently leads the nation in NAAC-rated colleges, thanks to its aggressive strategy. The NAAC status report for Maharashtra institutions as of August 2023 reveals that most government and government-aided colleges have obtained NAAC ratings. However, only a tiny fraction of non-aided colleges have achieved NAAC certification.
Out of 28 government colleges in the state, 24 have received NAAC ratings, while 1,133 out of 1,177 government-aided colleges have obtained NAAC ratings. In contrast, only 257 out of 2,141 non-aided colleges in Maharashtra have NAAC accreditation.
To address this gap, the Maharashtra government is urging universities to publish lists of colleges lacking NAAC grades in local newspapers and on their official websites. This initiative aims to discourage students and parents from enrolling in colleges without NAAC accreditation.
Chandrakant Patil, Minister of Higher and Technical Education for the state expressed dissatisfaction with colleges' lack of commitment to quality and infrastructure assessments by the NAAC. He warned that colleges failing to complete the NAAC assessment process within the stipulated timeframe could face consequences, including restrictions on admitting new students, reductions in seat availability, and the cancellation of examination centres.
On September 12 and 13, department officials will hold individual discussions with the remaining eight universities in the state about the action taken report. The government's firm stance on NAAC accreditation aims to uphold educational quality and align with the objectives of NEP 2020.
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