Coimbatore: About 70% of the higher education institutions in the state have not acquired accreditation from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), said S C Sharma, the director of the council. Of the total 2,462 higher education institutions, only 781 have acquired accreditation. Sharma, who was in the city on Monday to participate in the inauguration of Bharat Ratna Prof CNR Rao Research Centre at Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science and Higher Education for Women, told reporters that higher education institutions including engineering colleges, arts and science colleges in Tamil Nadu were lagging behind in getting the NAAC accreditation. “While certain colleges and autonomous colleges in the state have been doing well, there is much scope for improvement,” he said.Comparing with Maharashtra, which has been doing well in getting NAAC accreditation, the director said around 75% of higher education institutions have got NAAC accreditation in Maharashtra. “The Maharashtra government had introduced a clause linking salaries of faculty members with NAAC accreditation. So automatically all institutions come forward to get accredited. Tamil Nadu should also follow the same,” he said.Other key areas in which higher education institutions in the state have been lagging are research, innovation and patents and filling vacant faculty posts, he said.NAAC, an autonomous body funded by the University Grants Commission, assesses and accredits higher education institutions in the country. It grades institutions in a scale of 1 to 4. Government higher education institutions become eligible for receiving funds only if they get a good NAAC score. Speaking of the revamped NAAC accreditation mechanism, Sharma said they had finalised the new method around three weeks. The new method was based majorly on information and communication technology and it had minimal human intervention. There were around 93 metrics which would capture the entire details of the institution.“The institution’s self-study report comprises 70% of the accreditation process. We would also get student satisfaction survey for the institutions. The rest 30% of the accreditation process was based on the assessment. We have around 3,500 assessors to conduct the assessment across the country,” said Sharma. Once the institutions upload their documents and self-study report, the data verification and validation will be conducted. Subsequently, the system would select the institution to be visited, he said. The process would be completed within three to four months, he said.NAAC is spreading awareness about the accreditation process to institutions, Sharma said. “Our mandate is to handhold government institutions and those from rural areas. We encourage them to get accredited,” he said.