Tanuja Joshi|Sep 22, 2023
Reform NAAC to include IITs, assess by institution type, follow 3-year cycle: Education ministry panel
Education Ministry: Radhakrishnan Committee suggests that NAAC accreditation has 3 possible outcomes instead of NAAC grades, scores, ranking.
NEW DELHI: Education ministry’s high-level panel on reforming the accreditation system for higher educational institutions in India has suggested bringing the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) within the framework; replacing the current eight-point system followed by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) to a binary accreditation system with just three outcome categories instead of NAAC grades and scores; simplifying the process and reducing the periodicity of the accreditation cycle from five years to three. It also proposes accreditation based on the institution type rather than a one-size-fits-all policy.
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The committee report titled Transformative Reforms for Strengthening Periodic Assessment and Accreditation of All Higher Educational Institutions in India placed in the public domain on Friday has suggested a “simple, trust-based, credible, objective and rationalised system for approval, accreditation and ranking educational institutes”. The report recommends a centralised database, technology-driven systems that could replace or reduce manual involvement, along with mentoring and incentivising schemes for raising participation of institutions. The committee that drafted the report was chaired by K Radhakrishnan, chairperson, board of governors, IIT Kanpur.
The committee suggests transitioning to a “adapted binary accreditation system” with three categories of institutions – ‘Accredited’, ‘Awaiting Accreditation’ for those who are close to the threshold level, and ‘Not Accredited’ for those far below the standards for accreditation. The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 had suggested just two categories – “accredited” and “non-accredited”.
The education ministry has published the Radhakrishnan committee report three months after Bhushan Patwardhan resigned as chairperson of National Assessment and Accreditation Council citing irregularities in its assessment process. The Radhakrishnan committee was constituted in November 2022. On April 28, in response to a Right to Information application by Careers360 seeking the Radhakrishnan report, the NAAC’s public information officer Kiran R Jere wrote, “no such report is available with NAAC”.
According to the report, a “high-level brainstorming session” held on March 22 led to a resolution to prepare for transition to the new system by December 31, 2023.
IITs under accreditation system
All higher educational institutes including IITs and every programme will be brought under the new assessment and accreditation system. However, “due regard will be given to statutory dispensation”, the report states. Currently, IITs follow their internal systems for periodic peer evaluation and assessment of programmes.
In April this year, the IITs gave their nod “in-principle” to the proposal. However, the committee’s report will be circulated to all IITs for their suggestions.
NAAC Accreditation: New model
Instead of an “one-size-fits-all” model, the report proposes categorisation of educational institutions based on “vision or orientation” and “heritage or legacy”, and seeking information appropriate for the category. Within “heritage and legacy” there are two categories – old and established institutions, and new and upcoming institutions.
To enhance transparency, a ‘Unified Elicitation Tool’ has been proposed to collect the superset of data from institutions for the approval, accreditation, scoring and ranking. The tool will have “in-built design for collateral cross-checking to check authenticity of data and replace the existing manual of assessment and accreditation”, says the report.
New proposed system based on NEP 2020
Score-based, Multiple Grade Accreditation
Approved Peer Team of Individuals
Approved Accrediting Institutions
Generic policy benefits as an incentive for accreditation
Empirical policy benefits to motivate accreditation
NAAC Grading: Penalty and participation
To enhance the credibility of the overall process, the report recommends “trust institutions” to provide accurate data. However, a significant penalty for wrong submissions should also be in place to ensure public disclosure of relevant data by the educational institutions, the report states.
The report further observed that the participation level of institutions needs to improve significantly. To bring more institutions under the accreditation framework, the report suggests that the survey questions targeting verification of specific data fields need to be customised based on the target institution.
According to the data shared by higher education regulator, University Grants Commission, out of the 1,113 universities and 43,796 colleges, NAAC has accredited 418 universities and 9,062 colleges. At least 695 universities and over 34,000 colleges across the country are operating without NAAC accreditation.
The data was shared by Union Minister of State for Education Subhas Sarkar in response to a written question in Lok Sabha.
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