Recently, the chairperson of NAAC’s executive committee, resigned after repeatedly demanding an independent inquiry into the functioning of the council.
GS II: Polity and Governance
Dimensions of the Article:
- About National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)
- What is the difference between assessment and accreditation?
- Advantages of NAAC Accreditation
- Is NAAC’s accreditation mandatory for institutions?
- Why are so few institutes accredited?
About National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)
- 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).
- The Karnataka Societies Registration Act of 1960 governs its registration.
- Vision: To make quality the distinguishing feature of higher education in India through a combination of internal and external quality evaluation, promotion, and sustainability initiatives.
- Bengaluru is the headquarters.
NAAC’s objectives are as follows
- To arrange for periodic evaluation and accreditation of institutions of higher education or units thereof, as well as specific academic programmes or projects;
- To stimulate the academic environment in higher education institutions in order to promote the quality of teaching-learning and research;
- In higher education, to promote self-evaluation, accountability, autonomy, and innovation;
- To conduct quality-related research, consulting, and training programmes.
What is the difference between assessment and accreditation?
- The performance of an institution or its units is evaluated using predetermined criteria.
- Accreditation is quality certification for a set period of time, which in the case of NAAC is five years.
- The University Grants Commission (UGC) made accreditation mandatory for Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) in a gazette notification in January 2013.
How the Accreditation Process Works:
- The Assessment and Accreditation process entails the following steps: online submission of Institutional Information for Quality Assessment (IIQA) and Self-Study Report (SSR).
- NAAC Data Validation and Verification (DVV).
- NAAC Student Satisfaction Survey (SSS).
- Visit by a Peer Team.
- Institutional Evaluation.
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.
- Apart from recognition, accreditation assists institutions in attracting 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 has studied being recognised and accredited.
- For any college to be accredited, several questions about faculty, facilities, academic and administrative processes, such as the number of PhD faculty, students enrolled, number of computers, books in the library, and so on, are asked.
- For each question asked, there is a top score that has been kept a closely guarded secret for years.
- However, the NAAC will now reveal that score, allowing institutes to step up and aim for higher numbers.
Is NAAC’s accreditation mandatory for institutions?
- While the UGC has over the years issued many circulars directing institutes to mandatorily undergo NAAC’s assessment, the process still remains largely voluntary.
- The National Education Policy (2020) has set an ambitious target of getting all higher educational institutes to obtain the highest level of accreditation over the next 15 years.
- However, according to information shared by the Centre in Lok Sabha in February, out of the 1,113 universities and 43,796 colleges in the All India Survey on Higher Education Report 2020-21, only 418 universities and 9,062 colleges were NAAC-accredited as on January 31, 2023.
Why are so few institutes accredited?
- According to current and former officials of the NAAC, the fear of obtaining poor grades holds institutes back from applying.
- In 2019, the UGC launched a scheme named ‘Paramarsh’ to address the issue.
- Under the scheme, some of the best-performing institutes were identified to serve as mentors to at least five institutes aspiring to get accredited.
- Last year, the NAAC also explored the possibility of issuing Provisional Accreditation for Colleges (PAC), under which one-year-old institutes could apply for accreditation that would be valid for two years.
- Currently, only institutes that are at least six years old, or from where at least two batches of students have graduated, can apply. The accreditation is valid for five years.
- But a white paper prepared by a team of academics, including Patwardhan, said that such a system could lead to compromise with quality.
-Source: Indian Express