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JU takes a break for NAAC ‘hard work’

Jadavpur University had to work so hard for the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) inspection 10 days back that it had to take a break on Monday.

No other university in the city has yet declared a holiday following a NAAC visit.

A team of NAAC officials inspected Jadavpur University (JU) for three days from July 22 to 24. This was the third NAAC inspection at JU.

Vice-chancellor Abhijit Chakrabarti used his discretionary power to declare a holiday on Monday because the teachers and other university staff had worked “overtime” for many days to ready the documents to be placed before the NAAC inspectors.

“Most of our staff had worked extra hours for many days for the NAAC inspection and also for readying reports for some other inspections held recently. The vice-chancellor has declared a holiday today so that all those who were involved in the preparatory work get some relief,” said registrar Pradip Kumar Ghosh.

He pleaded that the university had done nothing wrong because the vice-chancellor was empowered to invoke discretionary power and grant up to three holidays in a year, in addition to the number of scheduled holidays.

NAAC teams inspect every university and college once in five years. The Centre has made NAAC rating mandatory for every institution to become eligible for funds from the Centre and agencies run by it, like the University Grants Commission.

An institution’s NAAC assessment score decides how much funds it will get.

JU had been accredited by the NAAC in 2009.

“A NAAC team had visited our campuses, too. Before the inspection we had to work extra hours but we were never given a holiday because whatever we did, hard work and all, was part of our job,” said a Calcutta University official.

Even some officials at JU wondered why the authorities had to suspend all academic activities for a day.

“We had to keep all our reports and data updated for the NAAC team. The bulk of the work was done by some senior officials and teachers. For that, why did the students and all teachers and non-teaching staff have to be given a holiday?” wondered a JU official.

The NAAC assessment of a university covers academic, administrative and financial aspects. “The performance of the students in curricular and extra-curricular activities, teachers’ performance, teaching methodologies, research activities, placements, introduction of new courses and industry-university collaborations are some of parameters for assessing a university,” said an official.

A former JU official said the decision to declare a holiday for the NAAC visit was in line with the trend followed by the Trinamul government. “Over the past three years the government has declared several holidays beyond the scheduled holidays,” said the official, who refused to be named.

The government had declared an unscheduled holiday in 2012 to mark Vidyasagar’s birth anniversary. The year before, Rabindranath Tagore’s death anniversary had been declared a holiday.