Sonada institution first under NBU to get NAAC top rank
SILIGURI (WB), March 27 (MRINALINI SHARMA) –Salesian College has been conferred Grade A by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council, the first among the 63 colleges under North Bengal University (NBU) to get the top grade.
The NAAC accreditation this time was based on an inspection conducted at the 74-year-old college at Sonada and at its second campus in Siliguri in November.
College authorities said it was a “great leap” for the college which had been granted C++ during the previous NAAC grading system in 2004.
“It is a matter of great prestige for stakeholders of the college both in Sonada and in the Siliguri campus. In fact, it is a great leap from the C++ grade, conferred on us during the first accreditation eight years back. The top grade proves that we strove hard to attain this position,” said Father George Thadathil, the principal of Salesian College.
“A three-member team had inspected the college in Sonada and the Siliguri campus for three days in November last year. NAAC took its decision on March 10 this year and intimated us a few days back,” he added.
This is the second feat for the college — run by the Salesians of Don Bosco. The first was when it was accorded “college with potential for excellence” status by the UGC along with ABN Seal College in Cooch Behar in 2010. Both the colleges had got an additional grant of Rs 1 crore each from the UGC for the recognition.
NAAC is a Bangalore-based autonomous body set up by the UGC in 1994 to assess and accredit higher education institutions across India. Under the current system, institutions are graded under A, B, C and D categories, which means “very good”, “good”, “satisfactory” and “unsatisfactory”.
The grades are valid for five years after which colleges and varsities have to opt for re-accreditation.
The higher education institutes are adjudged on parameters like curriculum, teaching, learning and evaluation, research, consultancy and extension, infrastructure and learning resources.
Nupur Das, the UG Council secretary of NBU, said the best score among 30 NAAC accredited colleges under NBU so far was B++. “Sonada college is located in a rural area, yet, it is so well-equipped with highly qualified teachers that it could impress the NAAC inspection team. Currently, eight of the 33 teachers serving on the two campuses have PhD and more are applying for research,” she said. Both the campuses of the college have 50 computers and 20 laptops with Internet connectivity. The college is known for its modern teaching mechanism like LCDs, projectors and smart boards and has a well-stocked library with over 32,000 books and journals.
“In fact, the college has the highest student-book ratio. The college has national and international collaborations with around 10 research organisations including the ICPR (Indian Council of Philosophical Research), ICSSR (Indian Council of Social Science Research) and the CIIL (Central Institute of Indian Languages). The college also participates in student exchange programmes with institutions under Don Bosco Higher Education Forum across the world,” said Das.
“So far, the best grade earned by colleges under the university is B++. Even the university was accorded B++. Salesian College is among the first few colleges under NBU to go for re-accreditation and it earned the top grade. As of now, this is the only college under our university to have A grade,” she added.
The college offers courses in BA, BSc, BCom and management, apart from career oriented programmes in music, communicative English, computer science and travel and tourism.
Around 400 students are enrolled on the campuses in Sonada and Siliguri.
According to varsity sources, UGC has “strongly recommended” that all colleges and varsities get accredited by the NAAC. “A college with Grade A earns credibility of the UGC and is certainly eligible for enhanced and special grants for further improvement in infrastructure and quality of education,” an NBU source said.
“With grade A, a college is recognised among the best institutions of the country. This also helps in drawing national and international research agencies to collaborate with it,” the official added.