St. StephensCollege


From sudden infrastructural changes to administrative departments running around and looking all dazed and cold feet, whether we choose to agree or disagree, but the preparation for NAAC inspection sent almost every college in a frenzy last year. And with the NAAC Peer Team coming, preparations caught up in full swing, involving an uncanny resemblance to a household situation where an unforeseen wedding had suddenly come up. With all the white-washing, denting-painting, revamping, reckless spending of money, running around, fake smiling, boastful talks about ones college in the air during NAAC days, our belief in the aforementioned analogy only gets stronger.

With a panel touted as a meticulously chosen handful of very experienced academicians and people who understand the education system very wellcoming and assessing colleges under NAAC, the question arises, does a grading matter after all?

What is NAAC?

The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) is an autonomous body established by the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India to assess and accredit institutions of higher education in the country. An outcome of the recommendations of the National Policy in Education (1986) which laid special emphasis on upholding the quality of higher education in India, the NAAC was established in 1994 with its headquarters at Bangalore.

Upon requests by individual colleges and universities, the primary accreditation agency of the country conducts assessments and grades institutions. The agencys cumulative gradation of institutions is based on parameters like curriculum, faculty, research, infrastructure, learning resources, organisation, governance and student services.

The process: How does it accredit colleges

Assessment and Accreditation are broadly used for understanding the Quality Statusof an institution. In the context of Higher Education, the accreditation status indicates that the particular Higher Educational Institutions (HEI) a College, a University, or any other recognised Unit therein, meets the standards of quality as set by the Accreditation Agency, in terms of its performance, related to the educational processes and outcomes, covering the curriculum, teaching-learning, evaluation, faculty, research, infrastructure, learning resources, organisation, governance, financial well-being and student services.

The top and the bottom: How did DU perform

While most colleges applied for the NAAC accreditation long back, the visits majorly took place last year and the scores were released soon after. In the initial phase, IPCW secured a CGPA of 3.33 (Grade A) and ANDC secured the second spot by getting a CGPA of 3.31 (Grade A).  These were followed by Gargi College (3.30), St. Stephens College (3.21), Jesus and Mary College (3.26), Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies (3.16), Ramanujan College (3.06), Shivaji College (3.26), Sri Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce (3.02), Keshav Mahavidyalaya (3.01), Bharati College (2.85), PGDAV (2.74), Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College (2.63), and Motilal Nehru College (2.60).

Later in the year, SRCC and LSR emerged at the top with a whooping score of 3.65 and 3.61 respectively. Take a look at the top 10 scorers in the table here.

Top 10 scorers 

Image credits: HT Media
Image credits: HT Media

These scores are valid for five years after which the colleges will again have to apply for accreditation. It was in 2012 that UGC made accreditation compulsory for higher educational institutions and DU executive council adopted the decision in 2014.

Does the grade even matter?

As far as we remember, such a panel as meticulously chalked out as NAAC didnt exist many years back. While grading brings in a state of competitive spirit (as if the previous branding and rep-bias that exists in the university wasnt enough already) the question arises, does the same grade then not end up shining the pride of the already well established and some popular DU colleges and create biases against some others who might actually be needing a lift from the loom of being less sought after and meagerly funded?

Whether the committee gives out grades on the hastily dip-dyed infrastructure especially revamped for their visit or the actual system in place is still a question for many to ponder upon.

The accreditation process got a thumbs up from some colleges, however, many raised objections over the assessment criteria too from time to time. Speaking to a popular national daily, Babli Saraf, principal of Indraprastha College for Women, said there shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all” criteria for colleges. “The criteria shouldn’t be the same for a liberal arts college like ours, where we do not have the provisions for a laboratory and are not involved in research publications,” she said.

In most cases, colleges started a laborious and hasty revamp revolution, to save their grace in front of the NAAC peer team and not to raise their quality standard in general altogether. When your transformation drive is initiated to fulfil a set of stipulated  ideas by a panel that is not even remotely looking at how you provide for the students, the timely assessment of whether the students and teachers are happy with the administration of the college, whether the college has some unique traits that may not figure in its already set parameters, if the college is lacking in research, what should it do, then that grading doesnt stand much ground. The NAAC website says that they provide a qualitative part of the outcome as a Peer Team Report (PTR) which is an objective report prepared by the Team highlighting its evaluative judgements, mostly using precise keywords instead of long sentences about the college under consideration, but I doubt these objective answers bring any real on-ground changes.

Does a low grading not mar the reputation of a college that might be in dire need of those funds, facilities and attention that it rightfully deserves in order to raise itself to a better education imparting platform? What good is a grade for colleges that are already popular among students and parents and get truckloads of funds? Should a grade not help encourage a college to become a more holistic space than label it as an A, Bor Ctype college for years to come. Finally, does a grade mean anything more than a fancy wall hanging of a newspaper clipping on the college walls for many many years, or does it actually ignites change? This is for time to tell and for us to ponder.

If you are interested in reading about NAAC and the process, log on to http://www.naac.gov.in/ for detailed information.

Feature Image: DU Beat 

Riya Chhibber

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Delhi University’s minority colleges such as St. Stephen’s and Jesus and Mary College are all set to join the varsity’s centralised admission process this academic session. The move comes in response to a meeting held by a 24-member admission committee that recommended that all colleges under DU should participate in the centralised online registration process. These institutions, however, will continue with their own admission policy of selection of students despite having an alignment with centralised admission process.

“The student will have to first register on the DU website and then go to the website of these colleges and fill their form as well,” remarked Nachiketa Singh, a member of the admission committee while talking to a popular national daily.

As per this move, students will first have to fill the centralised UG admission form and then provide the registration number given by DU to proceed with the admission process in these individual colleges. The colleges will, however, continue to have a separate merit criteria under which they are free to issue their own cut-off lists.

Mata Sundari College for Women, Sri Guru Nanak Dev (SGND) Khalsa College and Sri Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce -the three colleges run by the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) which were granted minority status by the Delhi High Court last year, have also approached the varsity authorities to permit them to have independent admission process from the upcoming session.


Image credits: us.localpad.com

Riya Chhibber

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Sabha, the multilingual dramatics society at St. Stephen’s College, organised its annual four-day theater festival, Dastaan, from the 19th to the 23rd of February. The riot of energy and colour kick-started on the 19th with a performance of ‘Dastaan-e-Bhookh,’ an absurdist play performed by the acclaimed theater group, Third Space Collective. The play is an adaptation of Sam Shepard’s ‘Curse of the Starving Class’ which takes us into the hearts and minds of a squabbling family. The performance was followed by an interactive session with the director, Dhwani Vij, and the cast and crew of the play, who gave us valuable insights into the thought process that went into the making of the play and its minute details.

The second day of Dastaan 2016 saw 12 street play teams from across Delhi battle it out ian a street play competition, ‘Anhad.’ The infectious enthusiasm that the teams exuded kept the audience glued to the circle that forms around the performers in a street play. Addressing several pertinent social issues like medical negligence, freedom of expression and homophobia, the street play teams from various colleges kept the lawns at St.Stephen’s pulsating with energy.

Hansraj Dramatics Society at Dastaan| Image by Vegh Daswani
Hansraj Dramatics Society | Image by Vegh Daswani

The competition was judged by Mr. Nishant Aggarwal from Asmita theater group, and Mr. Anish Singh, both experienced theater personalities, who shared their valuable feedback with the teams. The team from Kalindi College walked away with the first position, with Hindu College coming second and Motilal Nehru College taking third place.

Images by Vegh Daswani for DU Beat 

Dastaan culminated with ‘Bhaasha,’ a multilingual one-act stage play competition that saw participation from 10 colleges across Delhi, over the two days of the competition. From those that delved into the philosophical aspects of human life and its complexities, to some that were sheer entertainment, the plays were an interesting amalgamation of characters, plots and sets.

Images by Snigdha for DU Beat 

Ramjas College secured the prize for the best play for their production ‘Deluxe Hair Cutting Salon,’ with Shivaji College taking second place. Kirorimal College and SGTB Khalsa received special mentions.

Dastaan 2016 concluded with a resounding success, having provided a 4-day feast for theatre aficionados, while simultaneously encouraging theatre at the college level.

Images by Snigdha for DU Beat 

Feature Image Credits: Vegh Daswani by DU Beat!

Abhinaya Harigovind

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