Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: Concerned over the functioning of centres of excellence under different varsities of Odisha, the Higher Education Department today held a meeting with the vice-chancellors of different government universities and officials of the World Bank.

During the meeting, Higher Education Secretary Saswat Mishra sought information on the utilisation of funds received from the World Bank in the first phase and the future roadmap.

Apart from that, the VCs were assigned responsibilities to impart training for National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) accreditation of colleges so that it will help in managing the funds.

Vice-chancellor of Gangadhar Meher University in Sambalpur, Atanu Pati said, “We have to identify the colleges who are eligible for NAAC accreditation and train them accordingly. Decisions were taken on how such centres of excellence can be made self-sustained as World Bank grants will be withdrawn after 4 years.”

Speaking about the meeting, Sabita Acharya, PG Council Chairperson of Utkal University, said, “A review of work done at centres of excellence was done in today’s meeting. As fund release was delayed, utilisation is still in progress. They have sought a plan from us by September 30 on fund utilisation.”

While at present there are 10 centres of excellence under six universities, Rama Devi Women's University, Fakir Mohan University, Khallikote University, North Orissa University and Gangadhar Meher University have applied for opening centres of excellence under them.

With more number of centres, the State government has aimed at getting more funds from World Bank which can be used in higher education.

“Funds will be provided to universities for setting up centres of excellence but in case of underperformance, the recognition would be withdrawn and that fund will be diverted,” vice-chancellor of Sambalpur University, Deepak Behera said.

In the meeting, focus was also given on on-time graduation programme which means the result of students with arrears will now be published along with regular students.