The Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Educational and Research Institute is the only institute from Bengal that has bagged the highest score, A++, in the latest round of evaluation by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).
This was the first time the 14-year-old institute in Belur, run by the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, was assessed by NAAC.
The results of the latest assessment were published on Thursday. Eight institutes from across the country — including the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and the SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai — have got the highest grade.
A NAAC accreditation is valid for five years.
The Belur institute has got a cumulative grade point average of 3.66 out of 4, officials said.
“This is a unique and unparalleled achievement for a university going for NAAC accreditation in its very first cycle — clear and authentic recognition of the academic excellence of Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda (Deemed) University by the autonomous and authorised accrediting institution NAAC,” said Swami Atmapriyananda, vice-chancellor of the institute.
Headquartered at Belur Math, the multi-campus institute follows a university education system envisioned by Swami Vivekananda. Apart from Belur, it functions from Narendrapur, Coimbatore and Ranchi.
The institute offers undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral and diploma programmes in subjects such as Sanskrit, physics, mathematics, computer science, yoga, rural and tribal development, agriculture, disability management and disaster management.
The NAAC in its report has praised the institute for its strengths. “RKMVERI actively engaged in serving humankind without the distinction of caste, creed, colour, race, nationality, gender or any other distinction in the fields of education, health, relief and rehabilitation since its inception…. True to its vision, the institution stands for imparting education for character-building by integrating values for harmonious development. The Institution can boast of highly qualified, competent and dedicated faculty due to which a good academic environment with good work culture can be seen,” the NAAC report says.
Established in 2005, the institute was initially given the permission to function as university. Later, the human resource development ministry granted it the deemed-to-be-university status under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956.
“The deemed-to-be-university status is usually granted to institutes run by renowned organisations that have earned the reputation of offering high-level education,” an official at Belur Math said.
The institute enjoys all the rights and powers of a university. The only difference is that unlike a state-aided or central university, the Belur institute has not been set up through any state or central legislation.
“The institute was set up on the basis of a notification issued by the HRD ministry on the advice of the UGC. This route was taken to avoid the long-drawn-out procedure for setting up a university,” the mission official said.
“The institute, however, has the permission to use the word university at its gate.”
The latest round of assessment, which started last year, was based on an eight-point evaluation scale that the NAAC had introduced.
In the new format, 70 percent of the assessment constitutes verification and validation of data supplied by the institutes and the rest is based on reports of NAAC inspection of the campuses.
In the old system, the entire assessment was based on reports of the NAAC inspection teams.
The assessment criteria include infrastructure and learning resources on the campus; the standard of teaching, learning and evaluation; and research and innovation.
Among the other Bengal institutes, St Xavier’s College, Presidency University and Jadavpur University were last assessed by NAAC in January 2017, December 2016 and September 2014, respectively. All three were assessed under the old system. Among the three, only St Xavier’s College got A++. JU was awarded A+ and Presidency A.
The Centre has made it compulsory for every institute of higher education to get accredited by NAAC. The Centre and the state government release funds based on an institute’s NAAC score. The score is also taken into account to decide the National Institutional Ranking Framework rating of an institute.