Source: The Indian Express
News: Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda’s NAAC ratings were changed from A to A+, which sparked controversy due to allegations of bribery.
- NAAC is an autonomous body under the University Grants Commission (UGC), responsible for assessment and certification of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) as part of accreditation
- NAAC is a multi-layered evaluation process. It evaluates quality standards of higher education institutions(HEIs) in terms of curriculum, faculty, infrastructure, research, and other parameters.
- NAAC ratings for institutions vary from A++ to C. When an institution gets a D, it means that it is not accredited.
- Higher education institutions (HEIs) have to voluntarily submit applications for assessment.
- Higher education institutions must now be accredited in accordance with the 2012 UGC (Mandatory Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations.
- NAAC accreditation is valid for five years.
Number of accredited institutions in India:
- All India Survey on Higher Education portal has a list of 1,043 universities and 42,343 colleges. But, only 406 universities and 8,686 colleges were NAAC-accredited.
- Highest number of accredited colleges are in Maharashtra (1,869 ) followed by Karnataka (914).
- Most accredited universities are in Tamil Nadu( 43).
- NAAC reviewed 19 universities and 121 colleges four times, with a gap of five years between each grading.
Criteria’s to be followed to apply for accreditation process:
- Any higher education institution with a minimum of six years of operation or with at least two graduated batches can apply for accreditation.
- Institutes must be recognised by the UGC
- Institutions should have regular students enrolled in their full-time teaching and research programmes.
- Accreditation process is done in cycles: Cycle 1 accreditation is the first time accreditation of an institution. Thereafter, Cycles 2, 3, and so on cycles happen after subsequent five-year periods.
- NAAC follows an “input-based” approach. Means, NAAC mainly relies on applicant institutions’ self-assessment reports.
- First step of evaluation: Applicant institutions must submit a self-study information report related to quantitative and qualitative metrics.
- Second Step: Validation of institution’ s data by NAAC expert teams.
- Third Step: Thereafter, the NAAC peer team visits the institutions.
Latest controversy/issues related to accreditation process:
- Bribery allegations: There is controversy that Maharaja Sayajirao University unduly tried to influence the peer review team with gold, cash and other favours. However, NAAC termed the allegations as false and released the improved grading of Maharaja Sayajirao University.
- Higher education institutes (HEIs) do not apply for NAAC evaluation due to fear of obtaining a poor grade or no accreditation.
- Reducing the role of the peer team: Peer team visits should not have significant weightage in assessment and accreditation.
- Adopt an “outcome-based approach” based on learning materials, continuous assessment tasks and final examinations for accreditation of institutions.
- Introduce Provisional Accreditation system for Colleges (PAC): In this one-year-old institutions can also apply for accreditation where provisional certificates remain valid for two years.
- Colleges should aspire to improve the quality of education to meet the quality standards of NAAC accreditation.
Short Summary: NAAC accreditation process in India always mired in controversies such as corruption and lack of participation of institutions. Hence, to improve the efficiency of the NAAC accreditation process, the government or UGC should reduce the role of peer teams in the accreditation process, adopt an outcome based approach for accreditation, and introduce a provisional accreditation system for colleges.
Article: Express Explained: The controversy over NAAC’s system for assessing higher education.
Article Link: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/the-controversy-over-naacs-system-for-assessing-higher-education-8160859/