The New Indian Express | By Amrutha Varshinii | 21st March 2016 |
Chiming in with the Prime Minister’s ‘Digital India’ initiative, the body of Indian educational accreditation recently revealed that it would be adopting a more digitised framework and scale up its fleet by the end of this year. The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) is looking to go big this year by widening its ambit to cover as many as 20,000 institutions in the country, over three times the current total of 6,080 colleges and 246 Universities under its umbrella. In light of the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) stepping on the coattails of all Higher-Edu institutions to get mandatory assessment done, the NAAC has decided to ramp-up its numbers from 1,500 to 5,000 assessors to meet this mammoth target. Part of the decision to go digital is the push for Information & Communications Technology or ICT-enabled administration and guidelines. Although academic institutions have been adopting elements of ICT over the years in the form of Wifi-enabled campuses, virtual classrooms (like Skype-lessons, for instance), CCTV surveillance etc, the new move would make it a prerequisite for every institution to pay heed to their tech-infrastructure. NAAC would also be infusing ICT-based model to make the whole assessment process faster, simpler and devoid of human errors.
D P Singh, the Director of NAAC draws example of the body’s video-assessment process stating that it has plugged discrepancies in ensuring that the students present at the verification process are indeed students of the institution. The administrative process on the whole will be strengthened, he added by adopting a transparent, tech-based approach. Some of the benefits of a digital-administration are faster work and lesser assessors required on-site to adjudge every institution. “There are plans to make institutions that secure grade ‘A’ certification for two continuous cycles (each assessment lasts 5 years) to have a smaller group of assessors for the third cycle,” Singh said. Besides these, Singh stated that NAAC, keeping in line with the Minister of Human Resourced and Development Smriti Irani’s direction, would look at parameters that command precedence in institutions today- an up-and-running Industry-institution framework to provide ease of entry to students. “This would apply to not only engineering and other professional courses, but across Arts & Science as well,” he said, explaining that artisans and experts from various fields should be accessible to students while also giving them a training cum support infrastructure. The presence of registered, actively functioning societies for women, differently-abled and marginalised groups at the institutions was another criteria NAAC would be levying focus on. The activities of these bodies would play a pivotal role in deciding the ranking of colleges, he said, given the important role student organisations play in a university. Some of the parameters based on which NAAC gives its grades of accreditation to a university are curricular activities, teaching, learning and evaluation, research, consultancy and extension, infrastructure etc.
NAAC gives its grades of accreditation based on the following parameters:
•Teaching, learning & evaluation
•Consultancy & extension
•Infrastructure and learning resources
•Student support and progression
•Governance, leadership and management
•Innovation and best practices – Courtesy