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Institutions can apply for NAAC accreditation round the year

Times of India | K Sambath Kumar | TNN | Jun 2, 2018 |

TRICHY: National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) will accept online applications from institutions seeking accreditation round the year. Earlier the Institutions were allowed to undergo accreditation process only twice a year in June/July and in Nov/Dec when the revised NAAC guidelines came into effect last year. The latest revisions have given an edge to the institutions seeking reaccreditation as teachers need not submit the details pertaining to their publications and citations. NAAC which is an autonomous body established by UGC to assess and accredit institutions of higher education in the country, issued new guidelines in July 2017. Significant changes were incorporated further and a revised framework was released in January 2018. Now again some minor revisions have been incorporated now which come into effect from June 01, as per the NAAC website. “While every institution has to submit AQAR very year but many were submitting the combined document at the time of NAAC accreditation. The revised norms make it mandatory for the institutions to submit the report every year,” said Director of internal quality assurance cell (IQAC) BDU S Rajasekar.  – Courtesy

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NAAC-affiliated institutions should become autonomous in 10 years

The Indian Express | PTI | Kolkata | May 5, 2018 |

Sahasrabudhe said there is fear among some universities about autonomy which needs to be overcome and asked all industry bodies to provide interface for a connect between industry and institution.

AICTE Chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe today said NAAC-affiliated institutions in the country should become autonomous in ten years, compared to over 50 per cent now. “Any accredited institution reaching the threshold of certain academic standard should go for autonomy,” Sahasrabudhe told reporters here. The number of NAAC-affiliated autonomous institutions in the country has to go from 50 per cent to “60-70 per cent even 100 per cent in a decade’s time. The AICTE chairman was in the city to attend a discussion ‘Millennial Learning Educational Strategies for the Gen Next’ organised by Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCC) and Sister Nivedita University. To a question about certain state-run universities not in favour of autonomy, he said “I am aware of this. It is all about mindset problem. Some amount of work will definitely increase if autonomy is given.

“You (institutions) will have to set your curriculum and set questions, but you in that place can have lot of freedom, lot of advantages. The problem at some government institutions is they apprehend if autonomy is given the government funding will lessen and it will be similar to a private college. But this is an uncalled for fear,” he said. He said there is fear among some universities about autonomy which needs to be overcome and asked all industry bodies to provide interface for a connect between industry and institution. Sahasrabudhe said AICTE is moving towards this interface. “We are also engaging teacher-training programmes and there had been encouraging response in past 5-6 years.” He said in the past few years a large number of start-ups have come to the picture and provided internships to 4-5 lakh students a year. “Many students from rural areas could not get the required platform. We are giving them that platform,” he added. – Courtesy

Education reforms: Rating by private bodies, 3-tier autonomy for institutions

Hindustan Times | Jun 10, 2017 | Chetan Chauhan |  Chetan Chauhan |

The top-ranked institutions would get full academic and administrative autonomy while the lowest ranked institutions would remain under the government control.

In a major reform, the government plans to outsource assessment and accreditation of the higher education institutions to private bodies and give full autonomy — academic, financial and administrative — to the top ranked institutions, Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya told HT. This is part of the higher education reform package being finalised by the National Institution for Transforming India (Niti) Aayog and the HRD ministry. The Prime Minister’s Office in March had asked them to prepare a blueprint for higher education reform that breeds academic excellence in top institutions of the country. “The reform package is almost ready,” Panagariya said. “For this, we will have to amend or replace the University Grants Commission (UGC) law. The call will be taken by Parliament”. Reforms in higher education sector had been under discussion for a long time but the government had failed to implement them because of resistance from within. More than a decade ago, the National Knowledge Commission constituted by the UPA government had recommended slew of reforms including disbanding the two higher important higher education regulators the UGC and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and proposed an overarching higher education regulator. But, the recommendations remained on paper because of opposition by the HRD ministry and the two bodies.

Before introducing a higher education regulator, the National Democratic Alliance government has decided to set in motion the reforms by making third party mandatory accreditation for all public and private higher education institutions to ensure transparency and quality.  “We want credible private agencies should assess institutions in private agencies,” Panagariya said, adding that even sovereign rating in the United States is done by the private agencies. “The accreditation would be based on academic and research outcome”.  The National Accreditation and Assessment Council (NAAC) has evaluated only 10% of about 10,000 higher education institutions in India and the government wants to bring all institutions under accreditation in the next three years. For this, proposal is to rope in private rating agencies. Autonomy of institutions is the next big reform the government would implement, Panagariya said. The government plans to introduce a three-tier autonomy mechanism in which the institutions having ranked on the top by the HRD ministry will get full academic, administrative and financial autonomy. It would mean these institutions will be free to introduce new courses and schools, revamp curriculum, appoint faculty including from foreign universities and approve research projects. Middle-ranked institutions will have higher autonomy than their current level. It would mean they would be free to introduce new courses and appoint faculty but will have to take approval of the funding agency (HRD ministry) to start new schools and appoint foreign faculty.  The institutions ranked poor would remain under the government control. Sources said that the reforms are being anchored in the Prime Minister’s Office and the changes are being made as suggested by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the review in March 2017. – Courtesy

IITs reject government plan to make them accrediting agencies

Live Mint | Tue, May 02 2017 | Prakash K Nanda |

IITs have instead agreed to help strengthen existing government accrediting agencies such as NAAC and National Board of Accredition. The HRD ministry has been advocating making IITs and IIMs accrediting agencies to maintain a close watch on the quality of higher education in the country.

Representative image

New Delhi: The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have rejected a government suggestion that they play a larger role by becoming accrediting agencies involved in evaluating colleges and universities in the country. The IITs have instead agreed to help strengthen existing bodies such as the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and the National Board of Accredition (NAB), three government officials said. The human resource development ministry has been advocating making IITs and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) accrediting bodies to maintain a close watch on the quality of the higher education sector. The ministry discussed the plan at an IIT council meeting held in Mumbai on Friday. “Yes, we spoke about the proposal. IITs will not be full fledged accrediting body for evaluating institutions,” said one of the three officials, a member of the IIT council. All three officials declined to be named.“The IITs will spare some faculties and help the existing bodies instead,” said the second official. IITs are expanding their research focus and there is also an increasing demand for expanding student capacity, the second official said, adding that to get involved in full fledged non-IIT administrative work would add to their stress. As such, the elite schools are facing a teacher shortage in the range of 10% to 30% at various IITs. NAAC director D.P. Singh said he had suggested asking the IITs to help the accrediting bodies as “that would lend prestige to the accreditation process”.

NAAC, the apex accrediting body in India, accredits institutions while NAB accredits individual courses. Singh said NAAC had communicated with the IITs and IIMs, while keeping the ministry in the loop and about 50 professors had committed to helping the organization. He said he was targeting 100 professors from top institutions to help with the process. While some of them could train NAAC staff, others could be experts in evaluation and yet others could develop methodology in sync with the international standards to be adopted in India, he said. NAAC seeks to evaluate institutions on 130 parameters from July through a new system. An HRD ministry spokesperson declined to comment. HRD minister Prakash Javadekar has spoken against the existing system and was in favour of making IITs and IIMs accrediting bodies. “We are going to float an idea in which IITs and IIMs will be asked to become accreditation bodies so that there will be multiple choices in front of the institutes and accreditation will be completed in limited time and we can go for more quality education,” Javadekar said in August 2016. India has nearly 50,000 colleges and stand-alone institutions, and 789 universities. But less than 25% of them have any kind of accreditation. – Courtesy

NAAC inspections to have less weightage, penalty for fake data

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi  | April 25, 2017 |

Image Courtesy: pib.nic.in

Self-collected data submitted by an institute to the NAAC is likely take precedence over physical inspection as the HRD Ministry is planning to overhaul the current accreditation framework. Following complaints of corruption, an 80 per cent weightage has been proposed for self-reported data analysed through software-based capturing and 20 per cent weightage to peer review teams.   Provisions of penalty for institutes submitting “fraudulent” information are also likely to be introduced and the number of parameters may be reduced to make the assessmnt more comprehensive. The HRD ministry is also considering allowing a say of the IITs in granting accreditation to institutes.

The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), which accredits institutes of higher education in the country, had on March 31 suspended the application process till the grading system undergoes an overhaul.  Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, while inaugurating a national consultation of revised accreditation framework, today pressed upon the need for more accreditation agencies.  “If we want to reach the institutes in a time-bound manner and assess them properly, we need more valuators. Therefore we want to set up at least three to four more institutes and we should also give a message to them in this regard,” he said during the consultation.  “We have asked the IITs to be accreditation agencies. There is a council meeting on April 28 where the issue will be taken up. If they want to do it independently we are ready for it,” Javadekar said.  Higher Education Secretary K K Sharma said ensuring quality assessment will not be an easy task and hence international credibility of the revised tools need to be emphasised upon.  “As per the new methodology in deciding the grade of an institute, the peer team assessment of institutes will be given just 20 per cent weightage instead of the current 100 per cent. Eighty per cent weightage will be given to self reported data which can be analysed through software driven data capture,” he said.  “While the number of parameters should be reduced to make the assessment more comprehensive, a third party verification of the data captured online is also required,” he said, adding provisions of penalty for those submitting false data will also be introduced.

The revised framework focuses on augmented use of technology, greater objectivity, and transparency of the process.  “Working groups of experts have deliberated and developed the formats for universities, autonomous colleges and affiliated colleges. The outcome of a pilot study to validate the framework and feedback by stakeholders will also be considered during the national consultation,” a senior HRD Ministry official said.  “Around 100 experts comprising eminent educationists, current and former vice chancellors, directors, statutory bodies, academics, principals of colleges are participating in the consultation, the inputs of which will be used to fine- tune and finalise the revised accreditation framework which is slated to be launched in July,” he added.  According to the new assessment, the institutes will not know in advance which team will visit them and the accommodation and travel plans of the peer team visit will also be outsourced.  – Courtesy

Govt shifts focus from HRD inspection to self-disclosure for university and college accreditation

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

NAAC wants regular academic audits in higher education institutions

Hindustan Times | K Sandeep Kumar  |   Allahabad, Apr 17, 2017 |

National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) wants all institutions of higher education to formally prepare guidelines, statues and ordinances for academic and administrative audit (AAA) so that it becomes an institutionalised practice on all campuses.  The organisation also wants these temples of higher learning to update recent trends in AAA as tool for continuous quality improvement.  For this, NAAC has issued an advisory to all accredited higher education institutions (HEIs) who volunteer to undertake AAA for meeting targets set for excellence. In the advisory note issued by NAAC director prof DP Singh, NAAC has made clear that as the facilitator of quality culture in higher education, it was striving to promote any good practices of AAA brought to its attention.

According to the advisory, “NAAC has evolved tools and guidelines for improving quality in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and for its sustenance. By establishing Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) and undergoing External Quality Assurance process it’s possible to continuously strive for excellence.” NAAC has made plain that it expects the institutions to undertake continuous academic and administrative audits. NAAC has defined academic audit as a scientific and systematic method of reviewing the quality of academic process in the institution. Likewise, administrative audit has been denied as a process of evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of the administrative procedure. It includes assessment of policies, strategies and functions of the various administrative departments and control of the overall administrative system.  –  Courtesy     /        NAAC Notification – Feedback from stakeholders on format of QIF. Please click for details

NAAC suspends application process to undergo overhaul

The New Indian Express | By PTI  | 16th April 2017  |

HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar had directed that the grading system must be reworked.

NEW DELHI: The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), which accredits institutions of higher education in the country, has suspended the application process till the grading system undergoes an overhaul. Following complaints of subjectivity in the accreditation process by the NAAC and corruption or misconduct by peer teams during their field visits, the HRD Ministry had directed the council to rework on the assessment framework to bring in transparency, objectivity and technology.  “HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar had directed that the grading system must be reworked and hence to bring a new system in place it was necessary to suspend the application process for some time. “Therefore, the receipt of applications for the current assessment has been stopped from March 31 till further announcement,” a senior HRD Ministry official said.

Javadekar will also chair a national consultative meeting on revised accreditation framework on April 25 where over 200 educationists and experts are expected to meet in Delhi to discuss the proposed changes. According to the new assessment, the institutions will not know in advance which team will visit them and the accommodation and travel plans of the peer team visit will be outsourced.  “The peer team’s assessment of the institutions will be also be given just 20 per cent weightage instead of the 100 per cent at present in deciding the grade for an institution and 80 per cent of the weightage will be registered through the Information Communication and Technology (ICT),” the official added. The application process is likely to resume in July with the launch of new accreditation framework. –  Courtesy

NAAC asked to rework accreditation process for higher education institutes

The Times of India | Manash Pratim Gohain | TNN |  Apr 10, 2017 |

NEW DELHI: To do away with “corruption” and subjectivity in assessment and grading of higher education institutions, the ministry of human resource development has asked for a complete overhaul of the accreditation process by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) from July 2017.  Following complaints of corruption by the council’s peer team, the ministry asked NAAC to work towards bringing transparency, objectivity and technology into the grading system.   As per the new methodology, the peer team assessment of institutions will be given just 20% weightage instead of the current 100% in deciding the grade of an institution.

 Moreover, no institution will know in advance which team will visit them and the accommodation and travel plans of the peer team visit will be outsourced.  Major (80%) weightage of the grade will be decided based on technical and objective inputs via use of Information Communication and Technology (ICT). These and many more changes, said officials, are in the pipeline in the accreditation process of higher education institutions in order to bring in transparency, objectivity and technology in the assessment and grading. “There have been complaints from institutions against the conduct of the assessors who are part of the peer team. Therefore, union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar has taken personal interest in qualitative improvement of the grading system,” said a senior official. –  Courtesy

Can India’s universities improve? NAAC Accreditation body ties up with US group to up standards

Hindustan Times |  March 15, 2017 |  Gauri Kohli  |  New Delhi |

The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), an assessment and accreditation body for higher education institutions in India, has signed a memorandum of affiliation with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) International Quality Group (CIQG) of the US.  CHEA is a US-based organisation of colleges and universities serving as the national advocate for voluntary self-regulation through accreditation.  CIGQ is a forum for colleges, universities, accrediting and quality assurance organisations worldwide to address issues and challenges focused on quality and quality assurance in an international ­setting.  Under this agreement, the two bodies will share best practices in assessment and accreditation, exchange resources and expertise, case studies and will also engage in joint activities such as peer visits of experts to institutions from one country to the other. The group comprises experts from over 40 countries who will regularly share practices and assessment tools, among other things.  It is designed to engage quality assurance and accrediting organisations, higher education providers, organisations and governments in a shared effort to affirm and promote quality in higher education.  Prof DP Singh, director, NAAC, calls it a “step further in making Indian assessment and accreditation practices at par with global standards. The Council is also working with accreditation agencies from around the world to achieve this. Such initiatives will encourage more Indian institutions to go for NAAC accreditation, especially as the University Grants Commission has made it mandatory as it helps an institute get autonomous status. Consistent top grades by the Council will also help institutions improve their performance on the HRD ministry’s National Institutional Ranking Framework. This in turn will enable students make an informed choice about the university or college they wish to join. It will also help institutions improve their enrolment and placements.”

The agreement also states that both NAAC and CHEA will work along the lines of the core principles of the CHEA International Quality Group, a global network of quality assurance and accreditation bodies. This involves working with higher education providers and their leadership, staff and students for the implementation of processes, tools and benchmarks to improve quality.  CHEA and CIQG provide a forum for colleges and universities, accrediting and quality assurance organisations, higher education associations and governments to address issues and challenges for quality assurance in an international setting. At meetings, in webinars and through publications and presentations, CIQG members exchange information and ideas on common interests and concerns including student learning outcomes, new modes of educational delivery, international quality expectation, the role of government, etc.  “As a CIQG member, NAAC has played an active role in this conversation about quality assurance internationally. The memorandum of affiliation is designed to engage quality assurance and accrediting organisations in a shared effort to affirm and promote fundamental principles for higher education quality. The CIQG helps build principles that can be used internationally to advance quality assurance,” says a CHEA spokesperson. –  Courtesy