On the lines of educational institutions abroad, Indian students will now have a say in the assessment and accreditation of universities and colleges.
The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) has revised its evaluation process under which it will now take direct feedback from students on the information submitted by educational institutions seeking accreditation.
Under the new evaluation process which has resumed on July 5 after being stopped in March, the institutions will prepare a self-study report (SSR) and upload it online for response and feedback from students.
“The report will be validated with the help of a student satisfaction survey by NAAC,” said a senior official at the Council.
NAAC is an autonomous body established by the University Grants Commission in 1994. The council, with its headquarters in Bengaluru, undertakes periodic assessment and accreditation of institutions of higher education and its units across the country.
“Through the new methodology, NAAC has made its assessment and accreditation process digitised and technology-driven lesser human intervention than before,” he added.
“The reform is aimed at bringing NAAC evaluation process at par with some of the best practices followed across the world and to put a check on institutions providing false information regarding manpower, infrastructure and facilities,” said senior professor at Allahabad University PK Sahoo, who has served as member in NAAC peer teams and is also a member of the northern regional committee of the National Council for Teachers’ Education (NCTE).
“I believe that the sudden shift should have been avoided. The new system should have been tested as a pilot project in select institutions and then it should have been introduced,” he said.
Sahoo added while taking students’ feedback was a welcome step, certain conditions like including only regular students should be ensured.
NAAC introduced the reform after the union ministry of human resource development asked it to carry out a complete overhaul of the accreditation process. The ministry has asked for the change in order to do away with corruption and subjectivity in the assessment and grading of higher education institutions.
Following the directives, NAAC had stopped accepting accreditation applications from March 31 as it went on the mission to improve its assessment and accreditation process.
The new methodology, which has been made more objective, gives only 20% weightage to peer team assessment instead of the earlier 100% in deciding the grade of an institution.
The new system provides 20% weightage to online student satisfaction survey (SSS) from this year for which institutions would have to provide email IDs of students for an online survey to be conducted by NAAC for the purpose.
Institutions will first prepare the self-study report and upload it online for response and feedback from students. It will then be validated with the help of student satisfaction survey.
The new process has been uploaded in the form of flow-chart on NAAC’s official website.