THE UNIVERSITY of Mumbai may not be able to benefit from the Rs 340-crore aid approved under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) for institutes in Maharashtra, said sources in the government. As the university currently does not have an accreditation from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), it has been rendered ineligible to apply for the funds.
“Currently, the university does not meet the threshold criteria, as it does not have a NAAC accreditation. The university is likely to miss out on the aid earmarked for higher educational institutes in Maharashtra,” said a senior government official. RUSA is a centrally-sponsored programme to promote quality and equity in higher educational institutions.
In April last year, the university’s Grade A accreditation had lapsed after it missed the deadline for re-accreditation. It was granted Grade A by the NAAC in 2012 — a score valid for five years. A fresh application for NAAC accreditation will be made in June.
In the Project Approval Board meeting held last Friday, Maharashtra was allocated financial aid of Rs 340 crore under the second leg of RUSA — dubbed as RUSA 2.0. However, the RUSA council has specified that only NAAC accredited universities will be eligible for the aid. “The University of Mumbai, as a governing entity, will not be eligible. Its affiliated colleges, however, can be. The university will miss out on the funds allocated for promoting research in universities,” said an official.
The RUSA council has called for applications for the aid by the first week of June. While the institutes will have to apply to the RUSA council online, the state government can make recommendations. “The criteria is clear that the institute must have a live NAAC grade. Unless the university convinces the council to consider its previous NAAC grade, it won’t get any benefit. But that the university missed the deadline for re-accreditation is inexcusable,” said the official.
The university’s RUSA coordinator, M M V Ramana, said: “We will apply for the aid anyway. Whether our proposal is accepted is up to the government.”