THE UNIVERSITY of Mumbai, which will lose its Grade A accreditation from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) from Thursday, has decided to seek an extension on the grade from the apex organisation. “We have decided to write to NAAC seeking permission to continue with our Grade A accreditation until we reapply with the body,” said professor Neeraj Hatekar, chairperson of MU’s NAAC committee.

The university was granted Grade A accreditation by the NAAC in 2012, a score that is valid for five years. However, having failed to apply for reaccreditation in time, the varsity is set to lose the grade with effect from April 20.

The grade defines the quality status of an institute based on its performance, curriculum, evaluation, faculty and infrastructure. Hatekar, however, said that the decision to not apply for a reaccreditation was deliberate as the NAAC was revising its guidelines for assessing higher educational institutes.

“We want to wait for the new guidelines of assessment before we apply. If we had applied, NAAC would have assessed the university as per the old norms,” said Hatekar. In that case, the university ranking as per the old guidelines would have been valid for five years, he said. University registrar M A Khan said the revised guidelines of NAAC are expected to ensure better transparency in the assessment process. “The new guidelines will be issued within a couple of months. We will then apply for reaccreditation,” said Khan.

Meanwhile, without a NAAC grade, the varsity will not be eligible for grants from the University Grants Commission (UGC). The newly-implemented Maharashtra Public Universities Act, too, stresses on NAAC accreditation of universities as well as colleges.

Colleges without a NAAC accreditation cannot participate in university elections, the Act mandates.

Taking note of the situation, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNVS) has written to the Vice Chancellor to get an extension on the grade at the earliest. “It’s too late to ask for an extension from the NAAC.

The university should have started the process at least six months in advance. Until the apex grading organisation grants an extension, MU will not be eligible for financial grants from the government,” said Santosh Gangurde, vice-president, MNVS.