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Heber College stirs row for ‘hiding’ SF courses from NIRF

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Bishop Heber College (BHC) Trichy, which came third rank in the country among arts and science colleges in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2018 rankings released by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), is facing flak for keeping their self-financing programmes away from the ambit of the ranking process.
The college has managed to be among the top five arts and science colleges in the country for the second year in a row. However, some of the city colleges have taken strong exception to BHC’s action of not submitting details of their self-financing programmes. TOI accessed the data submitted by BHC though NIRF website and found that it had given the total student strength as 2,086 — UG and PG put together — for 2016-17. However, the college has a total student strength of 9,088 as per its internal quality assurance report for 2016-17.

“Unlike other colleges, BHC has not submitted details of its self-financing programmes including student and faculty strength, which has helped the institution gain advantage and eventually the top rank,” said the principal of a city arts and science college who didn’t want to be named. “NIRF never said that colleges should give details only of courses for which it gets aid from the government. If that was the case, we too would have done the same,” said the principal.

Most of the staff of the self-financing courses did not have PhD or have cleared NET or SLET which was mandatory as per the University Grants Commission. Hiding such details certainly gave an advantage to the college, said another principal who has written to the NIRF over the incident.
Speaking to TOI over phone, Surendra Prasad, chairman, National Board of Accreditation (NBA) — the ranking agency for NIRF— said that the college may be barred from taking part in the NIRF ranking process for a couple of years. “The institution has to furnish complete details of all programmes, aided and self-financing, it offers,” he said. The chairman added that it was not possible to verify each and every bit of information.
While the authentication process is done by NIRF and no private agency is involved in it, academicians have expressed doubts over such deliberate attempts going unnoticed, that too for the second year in a row. BHC had not submitted the data for self-financing programmes even last year but no one had taken up the matter.

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