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Excellence tag for Xavier’s

St. Xavier’s College, the first Calcutta college to become autonomous, has become the first in the city to be recognised as a “College of Excellence”, principal Father Felix Raj said.

The tag is awarded by the University Grants Commission.

The “College of Excellence” status makes the Park Street institution eligible for a grant of Rs 2 crore for a period of five years. The grant, meant for the development of the college, can be spent under “specific” heads.

“It can be spent on upgrading laboratories, teaching methodology and equipment, but not on infrastructure development like construction or repair of buildings,” said Father Felix Raj.

St. Xavier’s College had earned the tag of College with Potential for Excellence the year it became autonomous — in 2006. The status made it eligible for a grant of Rs 1 crore in the first phase and Rs 75 lakh in the second phase in 2010.

The College of Excellence tag was granted following an assessment of the institution’s performance by the UGC. “We received the communication from the UGC about our upgrade to the ‘College of Excellence’ status on Monday afternoon,” said Father Felix Raj.

The status will be in effect from April 1 till March 31, 2019, after which the UGC will decide based on an assessment whether it can be renewed or not. “The status is a recognition for the quality and academic achievement of the institute. I am thankful to the UGC and grateful to the staff and students of St. Xavier’s College. It is their achievement,” said Felix Raj.

The institute hopes the upgrade will facilitate the process of becoming a university. “The new tag may help but the proposal for St. Xavier’s University (under consideration by the state government and the college) is not dependent on the upgrade,” the principal said.