After receiving several complaints about various organisations and agencies charging lakhs of rupees in organising “national workshops” and promising to help colleges get an A grade from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), the government body has issued a public advertisement warning colleges to stay away from such tricksters.
In a public notice on its web portal, NAAC warned the academic community to be cautious about false and misleading advertisements for workshops, warning that these agencies promise to render services/expertise in SSR preparations to be submitted to NAAC, making up some deficiencies by ad-hoc arrangements in institutions or providing staff and so on. However, the most shocking claim is that they facilitate NAAC visits and interaction with council officials, says the letter signed by NAAC director DP Singh.
Meanwhile, many city college principals have admitted that though they haven’t fallen prey to such tricks in the past, a well-established machinery is in place which especially tries to sell such propositions to lesser-known colleges in rural areas.
“Every institute has to prepare a self-study report. At our institute, it takes nearly six months just to prepare the report as it involves such extensive work. However, we are aware of the procedure of preparing effective reports and also have the requisite expertise in terms of qualified professors. But if the same is to be applied to a college in some rural area, they have limited number of staffers and it isn’t sure if all of them would know how to prepare such reports. So in those cases, such agencies try to cash in,” said Dr Shrikant Gupte, principal of Garware College.
I had also received an invitation for a similar national level workshop by an agency not more than 15 days ago but we didn’t respond. Though the fees for registering for these workshops are a few thousand rupees, we have heard that they charge in lakhs later for their services,” Gupte added.
The principal of a college near Hadapsar says that he considered the idea until the charges became clear. “I had been contacted once by such an agency as we were looking for help in writing the report and also in some other technical aspect. But the charges were quite steep,” he said.
Meanwhile, senior college principals warn of one major glitch in these offers. “At the first NAAC visit itself, colleges had been told that they have to write the report themselves and no external help will be allowed. What happens is that all these agencies have a certain pattern of report writing and in today’s age where copyright and plagarism softwares are so advanced, there is always the chance of such errors to get caught. Hence it is doubtful that any reputed college will take such risk to their reputation,” said Dr Rajendra Zunjarrao, principal of Modern College of Arts, Science and Commerce.