The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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UGC XI clash with govt team

The city’s premier colleges, often denied due recognition by the state government, have hit the University Grants Commission (UGC) jackpot.

The UGC-prepared list of the country’s top-100 colleges has 11 from the state, eight of them from the city. The prize for being the best in the business ranges from Rs 35 lakh to Rs 1 crore.

And the grumbles can already be heard from government circles. This puts paid to the Left Front government’s move to channel UGC funds to hand-picked colleges, point out state higher education department officials.

Joining Jadavpur University on the UGC’s “centre of excellence” list are, predictably, Presidency College, St Xavier’s College, Loreto College and more (see box). This varies widely from the roll call of ‘lead’ colleges drawn up by the government.

The government favourites include Bijoy Krishna Girls College, Barrackpore Rashtraguru Surendranath College, APC College, Dinabandhu Andrews College, Fakirchand College, Diamond Harbour College, Sreerampur College, BB College in Asansol, Bankura Christian College, Chakdah College, Behrampore Krishnanath College and Midnapore College.

The method to the government merit list — pick one college in a large zone as the ‘lead’ institution of that belt.

This college, with improved infrastructure and faculty, would then help shore up other neighbouring colleges, officials explained.

R.S. Pillai, vice-chairman, UGC, said on Tuesday: “We have initially selected 11 good colleges, but this list is not final. We will consider the state government’s suggestions.”

The state higher education department, meanwhile, is contemplating taking up the matter with the UGC brass, officials said. “Please revise your list and stop concentrating on only the reputed city-based institutions,” is how the plea is likely to read.

“Most of the colleges in the city are already maintaining a decent academic standard. We now need funds for the development of the other, less-reputed colleges in the districts,” said West Bengal Council for Higher Education joint secretary Nirmalya Banerjee, adding that the council would soon meet to discuss the matter.

Presidency principal Amitava Chatterjee said he was looking forward to the UGC “honour”, while St Xavier’s College principal Father P.C. Mathew said they were “happy that the UGC has shortlisted us”.

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