Live Mint | Thu, Apr 20 2017 | Prashant K Nanda |
Instead of HRD ministry and NAAC sending teams for inspection, educational institutions will now disclose their claims on an online platform for accreditation.
Like what it advocates for industries, the Union government is now shifting focus from inspection of colleges and universities to self-disclosure as a prerequisite for granting accreditation. Instead of the human resource development (HRD) ministry and the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) sending expert teams for inspection and relying on their field visit report for granting accreditation, educational institutions are now required to disclose their claims on an online platform. The move comes as accreditation is becoming essential for getting approval to open new departments, courses or extending the legal approval of an institution in entirety. The move will be part of the proposed plan to revamp the NAAC, the apex accreditation body that accredits colleges and universities in India. NAAC off late is facing criticism for poor rigour and subjectivity, hence a need for revamping its function. The expert field visits which are now the key criterion for grading and accrediting institutions will get only 20% weightage. As part of the restructuring, NAAC has already stopped accrediting institutions beginning 1 April. Beginning July, the new accreditation process will kick in. The move follows HRD minister Prakash Javadekar expressing unhappiness over the current functioning of NAAC and how it gives very high grades to even some of the institutions which are perceived poor in their education outcome.
“NAAC has embarked in revising its Assessment and Accreditation Framework. The revised framework would be more ICT enabled and is expected to come into effect from July 2017,” NAAC director D.P. Singh said in a circular posted on the official website. However, all applications received prior to 1 April will be assessed via the old methodology that predominantly uses field visit reports by expert teams. An HRD ministry official said that Javadekar has already expressed his “willingness to rope in top institutions like IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) and IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) for the accreditation process to clip the wings of NAAC”. The new system will now have inputs from top institutions and domain experts and try to reduce possible malpractice in the accreditation process. Once the new system is in place, colleges and universities will not know in advance which team will visit them for evaluation and travel and logistics plan may get outsourced to a third party—in a way, this will add a surprise element and reduce possible joint efforts by some experts and institutions for mutual benefit. India’s higher education regulators like the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) are now asking colleges and universities to get accredited and accreditation is playing an important role in getting approval for starting new courses, opening departments or extending old approvals. Hence, the HRD ministry feels that unless the NAAC process is revamped, it will not serve the purpose. – Courtesy