Jan. 24: St. Xavier's College has become the first in Bengal and only the third college in the country to earn the highest grade of A++ in the new eight-point evaluation scale of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).
The 157-year-old institute run by Jesuits scored a cumulative grade point average of 3.77 out of 4, the highest among the three institutes to be awarded the top A++ grade so far.
St. Joseph's College Devagiri, Kozhikode, and Cotton College, Guwahati, are the other two institutes in the A++ league with an average of 3.76 each, a senior NAAC official said.
The UGC had conferred on St. Xavier's the status of "College of Excellence" and "College with Heritage Status" in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
"St. Xavier's College scored the highest NAAC score, A++ (3.77 CGPA out of 4), the highest so far in India for the third cycle accreditation by the NAAC," Reverend Father J. Felix Raj, principal of St. Xavier's College (Autonomous) announced today.
"It is the fruit of our hard work. I want to thank my staff, students, their parents, alumni, benefactors and friends for their cooperation, interest and involvement in the college.... This is yet another milestone in our march towards educational service," Father Felix Raj said.
The NAAC results were published in the morning.
Colleges are being assessed by the NAAC on an eight-point scale since July 2016, when the new grading system took effect. Grades were previously awarded on the basis of a four-point assessment scale.
"St. Xavier's being a college, the focus during the inspection was more on teaching-learning and the evaluation process followed by the institute. While assessing a university, the focus is on research. But whether you are assessing a college or a university, it is difficult for any institute to secure the top A++ grade," a NAAC official told Metro from Bangalore.
"The overall performance of St. Xavier's College was found to be far better than many other colleges in the country," he said.
The criteria used by the council to assess institutes are curricular aspects, teaching-learning and evaluation, research, consultancy and extension, infrastructure and learning resources, student support and progression, governance, leadership and management, and innovation and best practices.
An NAAC team led by Prof. Arunoday Saha, former vice-chancellor of Tripura University, had visited St. Xavier's on January 9 and 10, Father Felix Raj said.
Since revising the grading system last July, the NAAC has assessed 225-odd colleges in Bengal. The highest grade that any college had managed before St. Xavier's is an A, third in the new quality scale.
Inspections by the council continue throughout the year. Accreditation and the grade assigned to each college is valid for five years. A college needs to apply for a re-evaluation once the validity of the rating lapses.
St. Xavier's had scored 3.53 out of 4 in 2011.
The NAAC has not only identified the strengths of St. Xavier's but also given suggestions for further improvement.
Father Felix Raj said the strengths identified by the NAAC peer team include "good and democratic leadership and governance system, clear vision and mission of the college, suitable curriculum with good feedback system, academic flexibility, curriculum enrichment, online admission process, catering to diverse student community, sound teaching -learning and evaluation system and faculty exchange programmes, international exchange programmes, collaborative and departmental research, adequate facilities, publications, extension activities like college to village and village to college, scholarships to needy students, modern and digitised library, good student support and progression and maintenance of its heritage status".
The suggestions include more postgraduate and PhD courses, involvement of teachers in consultancy, more research in arts courses, extra flexibility in the choice-based credit system, new vocational courses and an academic staff college.