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General Studies 2 >> Social Justice


The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)


1. Context:

  • The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), which carries out quality checks or assessments of Indian Higher-level Educational Institutions (HEIs), courted controversy recently over the rating of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda and allegations of bribery in the process.
  • When the NAAC released the ratings, the institute’s score changed from A to A+ on the back of improvement across parameters. The allegations have surfaced at a time when the NAAC is exploring changes in its approach.

2. About NAAC

  • The NAAC, an autonomous body under the University Grants Commission (UGC), assesses and certifies HEIs with gradings as part of accreditation. 
  • Through a multi-layered process, a higher education institution learns whether it meets the standards of quality set by the evaluator in terms of curriculum, faculty, infrastructure, research, and other parameters. 
  • The ratings of institutions range from A++ to C. If an institution is graded D, it means it is not accredited.

3. The process of Accreditation

  • The current approach has been described as “input-based”. In other words, NAAC relies heavily on self-assessment reports of applicant institutions.
  • The first step has an applicant institution submitting a self-study report of information related to quantitative and qualitative metrics. The data is then validated by NAAC expert teams, followed by peer team visits to the institutions. This last step has sparked controversy.
  • NAAC released the improved grading, terming the allegations as “false”. Interestingly, the controversy has surfaced at a time when the council is considering reducing the role of the peer team visits in the overall scheme of things.
  • “The process of Peer Team Visits adds substantial effort on the part of both NAAC and the HEIs. Hence, we recommend that the role of Peer Team visits be facilitatory and not have a significant weightage in assessment and accreditation.

3.1.Reasons associated with few accreditations

  • According to current and former officials of the NAAC, the fear of obtaining a poor grade or no accreditation at all holds back higher education institutes from voluntarily applying for evaluation. This is despite accreditation having been made mandatory through the UGC (Mandatory Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2012.
  • Earlier this year, NAAC explored the possibility of a new system of Provisional Accreditation for Colleges (PAC) under which even one-year-old institutions could apply for accreditation. The provisional certificates would be valid for two years, it suggested. But the committee that drew up the white paper, which also underwent multiple rounds of revisions, observed that such a system can lead to compromise with quality. “The PAC proposal implies a lowering of standards so that a greater number of colleges can gain Provisional Accreditation. Instead, it would be wiser on the part of NAAC to help the colleges improve the quality of education they provide, such that they can be successful in meeting the standards that NAAC accreditation calls for.

4. Contemporary challenges faced by universities across India

4.1.Admission Crisis

  • The first and foremost is to get into one. To be bluntly honest, higher education is expensive and is clearly out of the reach of millions. This is the time when the admission crisis begins to foster! Despite the increase in the number of educational institutions and the wide range of courses being offered by them; higher education is something that keeps troubling the pockets of a major section of society.

4.2.The Research Which Is Not So Researched!

  • The heading says it all! The research which is ‘paper-researched’ put in a place collecting the fragments from multiple sources is what it creates trouble for university students. The lack of desire but interest in marketing has lent the self-claimed research-driven university tags to many of the institutions out there when the truth is solely different. Almost no attention is being paid to the aspects and this is where we fail in fostering the research for the students and lack the rankings.

4.3.The Curriculum Catastrophe

  • The alliteration of the caption may raise many brows but the truth is that the restriction in the curriculum is an alarming doorbell. We are restricting the imagination inside the type of books we want them to study. Stuck to the same syllabus, our students either refuse to know more or at times refuse to do so in an order to score higher! Being designed around the subject than being centred on the students is what it takes to a whole new level of destruction.

4.4.Poor Student-Faculty Communication

  • Not to blame the student alone for this, the faculties are equally responsible. The attitude of the involved interface is registered to be money minded and has seldom any interest in serving the purpose to serve the education. Irregularity, laziness and a weird attitude toward them cause problems for the students.

4.5.The Medium To Instruct

  • This is something which is generally not taken care of and is one of the least attended topics. The medium of the instruction is something that needs to be common and everyone can understand the same. In the global world with immense diversity in a class of say 50 students; the language of the masses would do no good to the people of other cultural backgrounds. The non-uniform medium of instruction is the most common of the problems being faced.

4.6.Faulty Education System

  • The last but the prime of all! The loops in the education system itself are what make life poor and pose a sincere threat to the future of the nation builders. These defects are sure-shot set to degrade the standard of learning and even teaching and this is what is more troublesome.

5. Need of the Hour- An approach laid by the Government 

  • Development of high-quality Institutions, that thrive on academic excellence and promote innovation;
  • Research and development programs;
  • Networking of Institutions for optimum resource utilization;
  • Dissemination of knowledge;
  • Technology forecasting and global manpower planning;
  • Promotion of industry-Institution interaction for developing new products, services, and patents;
  • Inculcating entrepreneurship;
  • Encouraging indigenous technology;
  • Focusing on non-formal education;
  • Providing affordable education to all;
  • Making Indian Technical Education globally acceptable;
  • A vision of a forward-looking undergraduate program that produces efficient, flexible and empowered manpower, sensitive to the industry’s expectations.
  • sensitive to the industry’s expectations.

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