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Star tag on six colleges

Six undergraduate colleges affiliated to Calcutta University (CU) are set to become centres of excellence in April. Presidency College bagged the honour in 2004.

St Xavier's, Loreto, Scottish Church, Belur Vidya Mandir, Lady Brabourne and Serampore Girls have made the cut this time. The upgrade process of the six colleges is likely to be completed by the first week of April, University Grants Commission (UGC) officials told Metro from Delhi on Wednesday.

'The UGC officials will soon meet to discuss the issue. The six colleges will definitely be declared centres of excellence by April-end,' promised K. Gunusekharan, who is overseeing the process.

St Xavier's, accorded autonomous status by the UGC this week, will benefit the most from the new honour. Being also an institution accredited by a National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), it will be eligible for the highest grant awarded by the UGC to a centre of excellence. The college is likely to get about Rs 1 crore from the UGC.

Of the remaining five colleges, Loreto, Belur Vidya Mandir and Scottish Church are NAAC accredited, but not autonomous. They will get Rs 65 lakh each. Lady Brabourne's grant is uncertain, as its NAAC accreditation is yet to come through.

A non-autonomous college without NAAC accreditation receives Rs 35 lakh as grant.

Presidency College was the only institution from the state to be made a centre of excellence when the first phase of the scheme was implemented. The six colleges in the fray were to follow suit in September 2005.

On September 15, at a meeting to finalise the matter, a section of UGC members, including CU pro vice-chancellor (academic affairs) Suranjan Das, raised objections to the parameters being taken into consideration for assessment of the colleges.

'For instance, one of the parameters was the quality of the science laboratories. This criterion cannot be applied to a college like Loreto, which does not offer courses in the science stream,' Das said.

The parameters were recently amended by the UGC. The colleges were reassessed on the basis of the changed criteria.

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