JJ School of Art’s autonomy plan faces NAAC accreditation hold-up

A unique problem with the 162-year-old J J School of Art has held up its move to go autonomous for the past two years. The iconic J J School of Applied Art, Fine Art and School of Architecture got the state’s nod to go autonomous in February 2017. But the process got stuck at the very next stage. In order to get approval from the University Grants Commission (UGC) for autonomy, all the three institutes need to mandatorily get accreditation from the NAAC.

NAAC parameters, though, are not favourably designed for art colleges. To make matters worse, all three institutes are housed on the same campus in Fort, they share resources, and have been in existence for decades together. Independently, each of the institutes will never be able to fulfil NAAC’s criteria, the requirement of land and faculty being two of the many. The art and the architecture institutes have trained some of the prominent personalities in their respective industries.

Two years ago, renowned alumni of all the three institutes came together to propose and execute changes that could help the institutes restore their lost glory. A complete overhaul of the curriculum, infrastructure and faculty appointments was planned. Bringing all three institutes under the blanket name of J J School of Design was on the cards too. The alumni and the faculty dreamt of making it an institute of national importance. The School of Art also planned to introduce “digital art” making use of modern technology.

All plans are now put on hold. The institutes have independently applied to NAAC and are waiting for their assessment, but it is challenging for them to meet all the requirements laid down by NAAC.

“The institutes independently do not attain the required student-teacher ratio. The government, too, is in the process of making faculty appointments. Since the campus and resources are shared, they do not even have the required area. Since these are government institutes, the maintenance is carried out by PWD, which cannot be quantified,” said an official.

Another official said institutes in existence for over a century cannot be brought under regulatory bodies which are three to four decades old. “J J School of Art was built in the 19th century and regulatory bodies like NAAC and National Board of Accreditation came over 100 years later. Art schools cannot be assessed on the same parameters as traditional arts, science and commerce colleges. Their examination system differs, their products are not tangible,” said the official.

The institute is now also toying with the idea of seeking accreditation from a global agency. The institute also plans to seek permission from the state for university status to get the same autonomy. They are also working with the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shikshan Abhiyaan to find feasible solutions. While state government officials were unavailable for comment, NAAC officials said they may work out a solution for art colleges soon.

Source: The Times of India

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