The Hindu | New Delhi March 23, 2017 |
The Centre is set to put in place a mechanism for research and academic audit of higher educational institutions to assess standards. As a test case, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has appointed committees of academics, who will audit the quality of a few chosen institutions. The institutions that will go through the audit in the first round are Aligarh Muslim University, Pondicherry University, HN Bahuguna Garhwal University, Allahabad University, Jammu University, Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, Jharkhand University, Rajasthan University, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow, Tripura University and Dr. Hari Singh Gaur University, Sagar. For the audit, 15 academics from different universities have been deployed in five teams. Each team will evaluate two or three institutions. Among the academics shortlisted are Delhi University political science professor Prakash Singh and Amita Singh of the JNU.
“This is a random picking up of institutions so as to kickstart a crucial exercise. Many universities are believed to be lagging behind in academic standards. Even in terms of research, it is necessary to see that it is methodologically sound and assess research outcomes,” said an official, who did not wish to be named. Traditionally, the work of assessing the academic levels of universities is done by the National Assessment and Acreditation Council (NAAC), which is under the University Grants Commission (UGC). NAAC teams assess universities every few years and award grades on a scale of 4 points. Last year, the Centre brought in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), a comprehensive model for ranking universities, taking into account a variety of parameters. While the final contours of routine academic audits in the future are not clear yet, a source said these could be linked to NIRF rankings, with the bottom grade institutions being audited with rigour. – Courtesy