To improve their ratings, Mumbai colleges meet green criteria set by NAAC
Under NAAC’s revised framework, environmental consciousness and sustainability is the seventh criteria, with a score of 100 out of 1,000.
For Changu Kana Thakur College in Panvel, installing solar panels, setting up a vermicompost pit and an effluent treatment plant began as a part of the mandate set-up under National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). But these environmental programmes have become a part of the college culture.
“We started various initiatives on our campus four years ago because the last criteria under NAAC speaks about environmental consciousness. Today, one of the reasons why we have been accredited with an ‘A’ is because of our environmental programmes,” said DS Narkhede, co-ordinator, Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC), Changu Kana Thakur College.
Green audit, use of renewable energy and e-waste management have been a part of the NAAC marking system earlier too. But under the revised framework, environment consciousness and sustainability have been explicitly introduced under the seventh criteria — Institutional Values and Social Responsibilities — which holds a score of 100 out of 1,000.
While assessing colleges under this criteria, NAAC looks for alternative energy initiatives, waste management, green practices and average percentage expenditure on green initiatives information.
This has prompted several city to start various projects on their campus lately.A few of the institutes have been working on various environmental programmes under the Environmental Science (EVS) course even before it was made mandatory by NAAC.
Bharat Sharma, principal of Vaze Kelkar College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Mulund, said they had started focusing on green initiatives 10 to 12 years ago. Currently, they have solar panels, vermicompost pit and treat water from laboratory before disposing it off. The college officials at present are seeking permission for setting up a rainwater harvesting tank.
Speaking about NAAC markings, Sharma said those who had already taken up projects scored better against those who hopped on the bandwagon lately.
“There is certainly an addition in marks because we are concerned about the environment. But, a few colleges may lose their grade owing to lack of such initiatives,” he added.
However, environmental consciousness is not the only factor in deciding the grade accredited to colleges. When HT spoke to a representative of Guru Nanak College of Arts, Science and Commerce in GTB Nagar, its officials said they had received the best eco-friendly institute award by an NGO and have scored the highest marks under environment criteria, but were given an accreditation of ‘B’ by NAAC.
Explaining the marking process through an e-mail, NAAC said, “The entire exercise of accreditation is built on the philosophy of facilitating institutions to reflect within and also trigger new initiatives. A cursory glance of the results of colleges clearly indicates that higher education institutions across the board are giving importance to environmental initiatives.”
Rashmi Joshi, Joint Secretary of Eco-Rox, an NGO that works with colleges to manage waste, said that lately there has been an increase in the awareness among colleges who want to tie up with them. “The scenario has changed. We no longer have to convince colleges. There is an increase in environmental awareness, maybe because of Swachh Bharat, and the colleges want to continue with these drives,” she said.