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CU scores perfect 5 on excellence podium

Calcutta University has made a clean sweep of the Centre of Excellence (CoE) awards with the UGC conferring the honour on all five colleges nominated by it.

Lady Brabourne College, Bethune College, Maulana Azad College, Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandir in Belur and Bijoy Krishna Girls’ College in Howrah — all affiliated to CU — made the cut this time to join the ranks of Presidency, St Xavier’s, Scottish Church and Loreto.

Apart from the honour of being counted among the best, institutions wearing the CoE tag are eligible for grants up to Rs 1.5 crore over five years.

“The UGC had asked each of the universities in Bengal to shortlist five of its affiliated colleges for the CoE tag under the 11th Plan. All five colleges shortlisted by CU were selected after appraisal,” Ratnabali Banerjee, the UGC’s joint secretary in Calcutta, told Metro on Friday.

The 2010 list, announced in Delhi on Thursday, includes seven other colleges of Bengal — two each affiliated to Burdwan, North Bengal and Vidyasagar universities and one to Kalyani University.

The vice-chancellor of CU, Suranjan Das, attributed his institution’s 100 per cent success rate to strict screening norms. “We are happy to know that the UGC has selected all five affiliates on our list. We had shortlisted these five colleges after a rigorous process of evaluation,” he said, while clarifying there was no official missive from the UGC yet.

The plan was to confer the CoE status on a maximum of seven colleges in the state but that was later increased to 12. This is the third phase of the CoE awards with 149 colleges across the country making it to the list so far.

Presidency College, now in line for the status of an autonomous university, was the first in the city to earn the CoE tag in 2004. St Xavier’s, Scottish Church and Loreto wore the crown in 2006.

An autonomous college with accreditation from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) receives a one-time grant of Rs 1.5 crore after being declared a Centre of Excellence. Affiliated colleges with NAAC accreditation are awarded Rs 1 crore.

If an institution is granted autonomy within five years of getting the CoE tag, it stands to win an additional grant on a pro-rata basis (depending on how much of the previous grant has been used).

Colleges are paid 50 per cent as the first instalment. The rest is released on the basis of an appraisal by the UGC’s monitoring committee.

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