UGC Has Announced That Every Institution Must Get NAAC Accreditation By 2022.
NAAC- An Introduction
NAAC is the National Assessment and Accreditation Council. It is an autonomous body funded by the UGC. The main purpose of NAAC is to accredit or give accreditation to higher education. NAAC aims for quality in higher education.
There are quality parameters based on which they assess the institution and they provide grades like A, B, C, A+, B+, C+, etc. So they expect that minimum quality standards should be maintained in higher education.
Earlier, no educational institution needed to be accredited by NAAC. But very recently, UGC has announced that every institution must get NAAC accreditation by 2022.
Accreditation Bodies -NAAC & NBA
Although there are other bodies like NAAC & NBA (National Board of Accreditation) also, a college doesn’t need to get addressed by both of them.
NAAC and NBA are two different entities.
NBA is funded by AICTE and NAAC usually is funded by UGC.
NBA is course wise. It is not for the institution as a whole. If engineering courses are running, for every field of engineering like engineering in computer science, they should have accreditation by the NBA. Hence, all the courses affiliated or, recognized by AICTE; are supposed to take the accreditation.
But NAAC is for the institution as a whole. The whole institution is assessed by NAAC. Well, there are some preconditions for the assessment. Also, a minimum of two batches should be passed out of each course. Otherwise, that will not come under the purview of any of the accreditation.
The process for NAAC accreditation is not a very complex one. It has seven parameters.
- Curricular Aspects
- Teaching-learning & Evaluation
- Research, Innovations & Extension
- Infrastructure & Learning Resources
- Student Support & Progression
- Governance, Leadership & Management
- Institutional Values & Best Practices
And these entire seven parameters move around, judging the teaching, learning, evaluation processes and they focus on the outcome-based education system. Because ultimately, for an institution that is a NAAC holder what matters is the outcome of education.
The main focus of NAAC is where the students are placed.
The infrastructure is also seen of whatever the minimum requirements are and what is it offering. Hence, these are divided into seven criterions and every criterion is given marks. There are sub-criteria under them. So only those institutions can apply for NAAC who are eligible i.e. those whose two batches are passed out.
How To Apply?
- To apply the universities/colleges have to fill the application form.
- Then after filling the application, there are some prerequisites that NAAC will check.
- After checking them, the institution is supposed to submit their report which is known as SSR. (Self-study report). It is prepared by the institution itself. They are supposed to compile the five-year data and then submit under the given format by NAAC and all the stakeholders. NAAC aims that all the stakeholders should work in favour of the growth of the institution and the student. So they want feedback from students, parents, alumni, employers, management, faculty, as they want to involve every stakeholder.
- The overall motive of NAAC is to give the accreditation to maintain the quality of the institution just to keep a check, on all the institutions.
- Once the institutions submit that report, then they check the report. And now after 2017, they have changed the system.
- Earlier, i.e. before 2017, evaluation of the SSR (self-study report) used to be entirely done by the peer team or the visiting team. And that visiting team used to judge everything and they used to mark accordingly.
But as, in India, so many, corruption policies and manipulations prevail, hence the system has been changed from 2017 onwards.
- 70% evaluation is done through an online mechanism. From this devised online mechanism, the moment the institution submits the report, it completely runs through the whole process of the online software and 70% evaluation is done there itself. The rest 30% evaluation is done by the peer team.
- The quantitative metrics are judged by the mechanical system i.e. by this software and the marks are generated over there. While the qualitative metrics are judged by the peer team. So 30% weight-age is given to the peer team and then they compile the whole result. Also, there is one feature that checks how authentic your information is when they run this report in the software and when they generate marks over there.
- This entire process is known as data valuation and validation (DVV). This DVV report shows how much deviation is there in the information with you.
- So if the information provided has more than a 15% deviation from the real information, then the particular Institute will be declared as blacklisted for one year. And the fees that they have submitted will also be confiscated.
It is not decided though that if after 2020-22 NAAC will stay mandatory or not. But as far as government policies are concerned, institutions will get funding only when they are accredited by NAAC; and that too with a minimum B grade of accreditation.
Benefits- To College, Professors & Students
1. For the Students
- The NAAC accreditation is in favour of the students because now institutions have forcefully started giving that needed quality to the students.
- As for now according to the new system from 2017 onwards, they have also added 50 marks weight-age which has been given to the student satisfaction survey. It was not there earlier. But now when the report is submitted, the details of all these things have to be given by the college with the students’ phone number and the mail ID.
- The respective NAAC authorities will randomly pick the students and they call them.
- They send the questionnaire to be filled by the students and based on that response; they check what type of quality is given to them. The questionnaire may include the questions related to teaching, learning evaluation, about quality of the teachers, quality of teaching, quality of infrastructure, etc.
Hence, this way, manipulations are not easy. Once NAAC has been made mandatory, it is good for maintaining the quality of the education.
2. For the Teachers
- The teachers are happy to see their work increased. As earlier, the institutions are not ready to send the teachers to the faculty development programs, various training programs, and etc. earlier the teachers were not allowed to participate in such programs even if they wanted to as the institutions were not willing to give them leaves or they were not willing to give them the needed financial support, but now they are doing it forcefully, they are forced to give it up. Otherwise, they will not receive the marks.
- It is mandatory now to send the teachers on such programs. Now, the institutions motivate their teachers to research because their marks depend on this work of the faculty members. That is why they are more towards faculty development programs. Therefore, overall it’s a good step.
3. Improvement in the Quality of Education
- The quality has increased and improved because NAAC also does internal quality assessment assurance.
- Self IQAC is also a must; every college should have an IQAC centre, which will ensure the quality of every process that takes place and that it is managed.
- Then mandatory internal audit has also been made. Administrative audits, an academic audit is mandatory.
- Transparency also has increased. Everything has to be uploaded on the website, hence manipulations are less.
Many challenges are being faced by universities/colleges for obtaining NAAC accreditation. Here are some of the major ones:-
1. Maintaining the Balance
–One of the major challenges that colleges face is in maintaining the balance between quantitative and qualitative education.
Suppose if the institutions, those who are focusing on quality. They generally are not in the position to maintain, the required balance between the quantity, and the quality. Sometimes if they want to increase the quantity then they have to compromise with the quality. Both of these aspects increasing at a time may not be possible.
–Maintaining the quality and the quantity is not something that cannot be achieved overnight. It is an ongoing process now and literally, institutes have to invest a lot of time.
–NAAC requires all the proof whether it is manual or automated.
Suppose the particular institute has a soft copy, yet it needs to prove whatever it says because the processes run on the given proof. If an individual is going as a teacher and is doing case studies, role plays but isn’t carrying any of them, no one will believe if he/she is performing them in the class.
Undoubtedly, the teacher’s work has increased in a sense as now they have a new document every day. This certainly, exerts the pressure on the faculties and they might face problems because they have done so much of work but sometimes they cannot prove everything, especially the minute details.
3. Challenges on the Administration Level
–NAAC majorly assesses the college, based on teaching and learning, therefore, the administration part has not been considered much till now.
–NAAC expects the training of administrative staff to be done on a regular basis. They constantly grow upon every stakeholder, so many things are there.
4. Challenges for Colleges in Remote Locations
–Changes to be made in the colleges in the remote area. As not so many facilities are there, such colleges will lack in winning anything.
–NAAC should at least differentiate according to the place or location wise. Many colleges complain because they expect so many things from the authorities, they don’t know how to manage all of this and also get accredited with a reasonable grade.
–There might be a lack of the quality of the teachers, students, facilities and other stuff that they receive. They may not be able to get good faculty members over there.
Supposedly, one college is in Mumbai and one college is in Delhi; and if both the colleges are judged on the same parameters, it is certainly hard to compare the two.
Once these challenges are defeated, NAAC can be called a very influential and great step in the long run.
Solutions And Suggestions
Many solutions and suggestions have been given to how any university/college can minimize/overcome these challenges. One of them is maintaining records timely.
- The colleges should maintain the records from time to time and they should be motivated to give quality education and to improve their quality.
- Through training programs, more and more workshops, more and more skill-based education should be done and encouraged.
- They should be properly placed and that’s the ultimate goal because the students don’t want to bear ‘no produce educated unemployment in the economics’.
What if Accreditation Goes Private?
- Recently according to some news and articles, it is being said that accreditation will be given by private associations as well.
- When accreditation comes to the private hands then again the risk and the possible corruption and manipulations increases.
- Although the government is not giving any such authority to any education body, initially it did want to merge AICTE, UGC, and all the different authorities those who are there.
NAAC is proving itself to be very advantageous not only for the education system but for the students as well. It is constantly building the urge in the universities and colleges to perform more and better and to improve constantly. This way everyone is able to gain, grow, and learn in a very positive manner.
For the rest, let us wait and watch what our government has in store for our education system in the future.
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Prof. Anuradha Jain
Principal and Dean, Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies
NAAC Assessor, significant membership positions in Indian Commerce Association (ICA) and International Association of Academicians & Research (INAAR).