For uni­ver­si­ties, the fo­cus now is on qual­ity

GET READY UGC is en­cour­ag­ing in­sti­tu­tions to go for ac­cred­i­ta­tion; NAAC to over­haul as­sess­ment process

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - HT Education - - Front Page - Gauri Kohli

For uni­ver­si­ties, qual­ity now gains im­mense im­por­tance com­pared to quan­tity, as re­cent an­nounce­ments by the Univer­sity Grants Com­mis­sion (UGC) prove. Most in­sti­tutes have been ad­vised to get­ting a Na­tional As­sess­ment and Ac­cred­i­ta­tion Coun­cil (NAAC) cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Re gu­lar as­sess­ment and ac­cred­i­ta­tion has be­come manda­tory. As per NAAC, in­sti­tu­tions are as­sessed on “quan­tity (in­creased ac­cess) and qual­ity (rel­e­vance and ex­cel­lence of aca­demic pro­grammes of­fered).”

UGC will now con­sider grant­ing au­ton­omy to col­leges that have re­ceived the high­est NAAC ac­cred­i­ta­tion in two con­sec­u­tive cy­cles. Apart from a high NAAC grade, au­ton­omy will be granted only to those in­sti­tutes that ad­here to UGC reg­u­la­tions. A col­lege will be pro­vided au­tonomous sta­tus if it ob­tains a no-ob­jec­tion cer­tifi­cate from the af­fil­i­ated univer­sity.

In­sti­tu­tions will also be con­sid­ered for grant of au­ton­omy if they ad­here to UGC reg­u­la­tions in­clud­ing curb­ing the men­ace of rag­ging on cam­pus, pro­mo­tion of equal­ity in higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tutes, griev­ance cells on cam­pus. About 38 deemed uni­ver­si­ties graded B and C can also seek NAAC up­grades afresh as per a re­cent Supreme Court rul­ing. WHY AC­CRED­I­TA­TION IS A MUST UGC vide its Manda­tory As­sess­ment and Ac­cred­i­ta­tion of Higher Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tu­tions, Reg­u­la­tions, 2012, had made ac­cred­i­ta­tion manda­tory for all higher ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions other than the tech­ni­cal in­sti­tu­tions.

Last year, the ed­u­ca­tion reg­u­la­tor had an­nounced fund­ing curbs for in­sti­tu­tions with­out NAAC ac­cred­i­ta­tion.

For UGC-recog­nised higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions (HEIs) un­der sec­tions 2(F) and 12B, to ac­cred­i­ta­tion with a spec­i­fied grade is manda­tory if au­tonomous sta­tus is to re­main un­changed. DP Singh, di­rec­tor, NAAC, says, “Sim­i­larly, HEIs may not con­tinue to get gen­eral de­vel­op­ment as­sis­tance/grant by UGC if they are not ac­cred­ited. For HEIs ap­ply­ing for deemed-to-be univer­sity sta­tus by min­istry of hu­man re­source de­vel­op­ment (MHRD), ac­cred­i­ta­tion is manda­tory with a spe­cific grade. Schemes of UGC, MHRD, De­part­ment of Biotech­nol­ogy and De­part­ment of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy are linked with ac­cred­i­ta­tion such as Uni­ver­si­ties with Po­ten­tial for Ex­cel­lence, Col­leges with Po­ten­tial for Ex­cel­lence and Col­leges with Ex­cel­lence and qual­ify for spe­cific grade and Cu­mu­la­tive Grade Points Av­er­age.” HOW IN­STI­TU­TIONS ARE AC­CRED­ITED The NAAC peer team pre­pares a com­pre­hen­sive re­port that is given to the in­sti­tu­tion for tak­ing steps to im­prove its qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion.

“As fol­low up ac­tion, NAAC asks the in­sti­tu­tion to send its An­nual Qual­ity As­sur­ance Re­port (AQAR). It also con­ducts and fa­cil­i­tates sem­i­nars/con­fer­ences across the coun­try on qual­ity re­lated is­sues to pro­mote qual­ity sus­te­nance. How­ever, the onus of tak­ing re­me­dial mea­sures to im­prove qual­ity lies on the in­sti­tu­tion,” says Singh. AC­CRED­I­TA­TION PROCESS OVER­HAUL Elab­o­rat­ing on the changes in the ac­cred­i­ta­tion process, Singh says, “One of the pri­or­ity ar­eas is giv­ing NAAC a global out­look through col­lab­o­ra­tions with var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional qual­ity as­sur­ance agen­cies and or­gan­i­sa­tions from across the globe, hon­ing skills of staff through bi­lat­eral ex­change pro­grammes through dif­fer­ent na­tional and in­ter­na­tional agen­cies, over­haul­ing the ex­ist­ing method­ol­ogy and in­fus­ing in­ter­na­tional new changes/ pat­terns fol­lowed by global qual­ity as­sur­ance agen­cies. We have al­ready formed a high-level ex­pert com­mit­tee to over­see the change in grad­ing pat­tern as de­cided by our ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee.”

NAAC will also fo­cus on strength­en­ing of in­ter­nal qual­ity as­sur­ance mech­a­nisms and men­tor­ing of HEIs to bring them on par with in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tions. Send­ing min­utes of the meet­ings of In­ter­nal Qual­ity As­sur­ance Cell to the NAAC on a quar­terly ba­sis will also be manda­tory for ev­ery ac­cred­ited in­sti­tute. All ac­cred­ited in­sti­tu­tions will also have to sub­mit the AQAR on a yearly ba­sis with­out fail.

The grade re­view com­mit­tee is also mulling cre­at­ing new grades within the ex­ist­ing A, B, C and D grades for rat­ing in­sti­tu­tions.

As per the pro­posed broad­based pa­ram­e­ters in the new method­ol­ogy, in­sti­tu­tions scor­ing CGPA in the range of 3.01 to 4 get A grade (very good), while those se­cur­ing be­tween 2.01 and 3 re­ceive B grade (good). In or­der to com­pete glob­ally, In­dian in­sti­tutes need to choose as­sess­ment and ac­cred­i­ta­tion method­olo­gies which have been r e c o g ni s e d a c r o s s t he gl obe, s ay e xper t s. Some of these as­sess­ment frame­works in­clude the Mal­colm Baldrige Na­tional Qual­ity Award (MBNQA), In­ter­na­tional Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Stan­dard­i­s­a­tion, ABET model, ( Ac­cred­i­ta­tion Board for Engi­neer­ing and Tech­nol­ogy), NBA model of AICTE (Na­tional Board of Ac­cred­i­ta­tion from the All In­dia Coun­cil for Tech­ni­cal Ed­u­ca­tion), NAAC, Qual­ity As­sur­ance Agency for Higher Ed­u­ca­tion in UK and Aus­tralian Uni­ver­si­ties Qual­ity Agency.

Ac­cord­ing to SV Subrah­manya, for­mer VP and fel­low re­search (ed­u­ca­tion) at In­fosys, “MBNQA for ed­u­ca­tion is more de­tailed for as­sess­ments. The cur­rent model of NAAC as­sess­ment frame­work needs to gel with the MBNQA ed­u­ca­tion cri­te­ria prin­ci­ples. Hence, we have to cus­tomise a new frame­work as ref­er­ence model for mea­sure­ments and as­sess­ments.”

The MBNQA frame­work has been well thought out with key el­e­ments such as lead­er­ship, strate g y, cus­tomers, work­force, op­er­a­tions and re­sults. NAAC as­sess­ment’s key cri­te­ria in­cludes the cur­ric­u­lar as­pects, teach­ing, learn­ing and eval­u­a­tion, re­search, con­sul­tancy and ex­ten­sion, in­fra­struc­ture and lear ning re­sources, stu­dent sup­port and pro­gres­sion, gov­er­nance, lead­er­ship and man­age­ment in­no­va­tions and best prac­tices. “It is also im­por­tant to draw lessons from the MBNQA key cat­e­gories to cus­tomise a new as­sess­ment frame­work,” adds Subrah­manya.

Short­age of qual­ity as­ses­sors with ex­per­tise in process and sys­tems knowl­edge are a hin­drance to proper as­sess­ments. A dig­i­tal plat­for m where ev­ery­thing can be put to­gether and han­dled through e-as­sess­ments will help. “The gov­ern­ment should now fo­cus on cre­at­ing a cloud based dig­i­tal plat­form bring­ing NAAC and other as­sess­ing agen­cies un­der one um­brella. Ex­perts should then be able to as­sess any in­sti­tu­tion’s in­puts through the dig­i­tal sys­tems. There should be mech­a­nisms and tech­nol­ogy to cap­ture all re­quired, rel­e­vant and re­al­is­tic data and in­for­ma­tion that is avail­able in any in­sti­tu­tion on any of the as­sess­ment pa­ram­e­ter that is mea­sured, so that in­sti­tu­tions on var­i­ous pa­ram­e­ters can be as­sessed in­clud­ing fac­ulty ac­cred­i­ta­tions,” he says.

There should be a re­view at high­est lev­els on all the as­sess­ments done through an ex­pert dig­i­tal panel to nor­malise the rat­ings so that we get mapped to the global rankings and rat­ings.

* Univer­sity of Roor­kee was ac­cred­ited by NAAC with f i ve star rat­ing as state univer­sity. Later, i t was re­named I ndian I nsti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, Roor­kee ( I nsti­tute of Na­tional I mpor­tance). ** School of Plan­ning and Ar­chi­tec­ture, New Delhi, was accr

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