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NAAC Scores Under Scrutiny

Context

A deemed university in Bhubaneshwar recently outperformed the prestigious Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru in terms of NAAC score. However, according to the National Institute of Ranking Framework (NIRF) score, IISc Bengaluru is the best university in India, which contradicts the accreditation and ranking system.

Relevance

GS Paper – 2: Education, Human Resource

Mains Question

What is NAAC? How it is enlarging its support for betterment of higher education in india? Critically analyze. (150 Words)


NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council):

  • The University Grants Commission established the NAAC as an autonomous body (UGC).
  • It was founded in 1994 as a result of recommendations made under the National Education Policy (1986).
  • Bengaluru is the headquarters.

NAAC’s goals are as follows:

  1. Arrange for periodic evaluation and accreditation of higher education institutions or units, as well as specific academic programmes or projects;
  2. To stimulate the academic environment in higher education institutions in order to promote the quality of teaching-learning and research;
  3. To promote self-assessment, accountability, autonomy, and innovation in higher education.
  4. Conduct quality-related research, consulting, and training programmes,

Mission:

  • To arrange for the periodic assessment and accreditation of institutions of higher education or units thereof, or specific academic programmes or projects;
  • To stimulate the academic environment for the promotion of quality of teaching-learning and research in higher education institutions;
  • To encourage self-evaluation, accountability, autonomy, and innovation in higher education;
  • To conduct quality-related research studies, consultancy, and training programmes.

Accreditation Procedure:

  • Based on input: NAAC heavily relies on applicant institutions’ self-assessment reports.
  • The first step is for an applicant institution to submit a self-study report with quantitative and qualitative metrics information.
  • NAAC expert teams then validate the data, followed by peer team visits to the institutions.

Future Perspective:

Outcome-based Approach: The NAAC intends to use an outcome-based approach, with the emphasis on determining whether students have relevant skills and academic abilities.

What is the difference between assessment and accreditation?

  • Assessment is the evaluation of an institution’s or its units’ performance based on predetermined criteria.
  • Accreditation is quality certification for a set period of time, which in the case of NAAC is five years.
  • In January 2013, the University Grants Commission (UGC) made accreditation mandatory for Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) through a gazette notification.

Which Educational Institutes Are Eligible to Apply for Accreditation?

  • Only higher education institutions that have been in operation for at least six years or that have graduated at least two batches of students are eligible to apply.
  • The accreditation is valid for a period of five years.
  • Furthermore, aspirant institutes must be UGC-accredited and have regular students enrolled in full-time teaching and research programmes.

Current Status of India’s Higher Education Sector

  • India’s higher education system, after China and the United States, is the world’s third-largest in terms of student population.
  • Since independence, India’s Higher Education sector has seen a tremendous increase in the number of Universities/University level Institutions & Colleges.
    • Only three Indian universities are among the top 200 in the prestigious Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2023: IIT-Bombay, IIT-Delhi, and IISc (Bangalore).

Higher Education in India: Challenges

  • Enrollment: India’s Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education is only 25.2%, which is quite low when compared to developed and major developing countries.
  • In GER, there is no equity between different sections of society. Males (26.3%), females (25.4%), SC (21.8%), and ST (15.9%) had GER.
    • There are also regional variations. While some states have high GER, others lag far behind the national average.
    • College density (number of colleges per lakh eligible population) ranges from 7 in Bihar to 59 in Telangana, compared to the national average of 28.
    • Because most of the top universities and colleges are concentrated in metropolitan and urban areas, regional disparities in access to higher education exist.
  • Quality: Because of poor educational quality, higher education in India is plagued by rot learning, a lack of employability, and skill development.
  • Infrastructure: Another barrier to higher education in India is a lack of infrastructure. Public sector universities in India lack the necessary infrastructure due to budget deficits, corruption, and lobbying by vested interest groups (Education Mafias). Even the private sector falls short of the global standard.
  • Faculty shortages and the state educational system’s inability to attract and retain qualified teachers have long posed challenges to quality education. Even in the most prestigious institutions, a lack of faculty forces ad hoc expansion.
    • While the pupil-to-teacher ratio in the country has remained stable (30:1), it needs to be improved to be comparable to the USA (12.5:1), China (19.5:1), and Brazil (19:1).

Advantages of NAAC Accreditation:

  • A higher education institution learns whether it meets certain quality standards set by the evaluator in terms of curriculum, faculty, infrastructure, research, and financial well-being through a multi-layered process steered by the NAAC.
  • The NAAC assigns institutions grades ranging from A++ to C based on these parameters. If an institution receives a D, it is not accredited
  • In addition to recognition, accreditation helps institutions attract capital because funding agencies seek objective data for performance funding.
  • Through an informed review process, it assists an institution in determining its strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.

• NAAC accreditation benefits students pursuing higher education abroad because many global higher education authorities insist on the institution where the student studied being recognised and accredited.

More on the story:

  • A deemed university in Bhubaneshwar recently outperformed the prestigious Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru in terms of NAAC score.
  • Meanwhile, IISc Bengaluru is ranked first in India by the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2022.
    • Seven institutes, all in the private sector, currently have an NAAC score higher than IISc Bengaluru.
  • This puts the accreditation and ranking systems at odds with one another.

What is the National Institute Ranking Framework?

  • The National Institutional Ranking Framework is a methodology used by the Ministry of Education to rank higher education institutions in India.
  • The Ministry will release the 7th edition of the NIRF in July 2022.
  • The ranking framework evaluates educational institutions based on five broad generic groups of –
    • Resources, Teaching, and Learning (TLR),
    • Professional Practice and Research (RP),
    • Graduation Results (GO),
    • Outreach and Inclusion (OI)
    • Attitude (PR).

NAC Accreditation vs. NIRF Rankings: Which Is Better?

  • Accreditation is a comprehensive assessment that occurs once every five years.
  • Ranking, on the other hand, is an annual event that takes place every year without fail (since 2015)
  • Despite the fact that both are educational institute assessors, there are significant differences in the specific criteria and metrics used to prepare the qualitative and quantitative reports.
  • According to the chairman of the NAAC’s executive committee, there are some discrepancies in the scores and the current system needs to be reviewed and improved.

 

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