Public universities and colleges in Kerala should strive to obtain a higher grading from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) so that they can get funding from the union government, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Tuesday. While inaugurating 47 completed building projects at various institutions of higher learning in the state, he said that at present, only 29 government colleges have NAAC accreditation and that the numbers have to be increased.
"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 inaugural function, which was held online. RUSA, a scheme of the Human Resource Development Ministry, provides union funding to state higher education departments and institutions to achieve the broad objectives of access, equity and excellence. According to the state Higher Education department website, there are over 300 higher education institutions in Kerala.
The NAAC, an autonomous body funded by the University Grants Commission (UGC), evaluates higher education institutions and assesses their quality, in terms of their performance related to the educational processes, curriculum coverage and teaching-learning processes. The institutions are then provided a grade based on these, as well as other, parameters.
The projects inaugurated on Tuesday were part of the LDF government's commitment to improve the basic infrastructure and standard of the stateās higher education sector while ensuring social justice, Vijayan was quoted as saying in a release.
About Rs 64 crore was spent on the building projects spread across the state, he said, adding that these include smart classrooms, laboratories, libraries, hostels for women, solar energy labs, incubation centres and community skill centres of world standards.
Among the 47 projects, one each is at the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), the Kannur University, the Mahatma Gandhi University at Kottayam and the University of Calicut. Three Community Skill Parks and 15 government arts and science colleges also have 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 and academic development of colleges.