The process followed by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) for assessment and ranking includes software changes, amendments to the way data is collected and validated, and penal action on institutions providing incorrect data. in colleges and universities across the country following allegations of ‘irregularities’ in its functioning.
These are among the key recommendations to be made by the Centre-constituted committee to suggest long-term measures and streamline the process of data collection and verification to be followed by NAAC for assessing Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Learned.
The committee, constituted last November, is headed by former Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) chief K Radhakrishnan and includes officials and experts from various agencies and institutions, including the University Grants Commission (UGC), the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the Indian Are included. Representatives from Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs), State Governments and Universities, Teachers and Computer Science Engineers, among others.
The committee is expected to come up with its report by mid-June, while several rounds of consultations have already taken place in the last month, with one headed by Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, News18 has learnt.
“All data collection mechanisms are likely to be changed through changes in the software or IT systems used to collect and verify the information sought from colleges/universities for their assessment and ranking. Data science and crowdsourcing can be used for this. The idea is to reduce non-verifiable data as much as possible,” said an official.
The objective is to get a set of authentic data, for which data integration is an important step, the official said. Currently, various agencies and regulatory bodies in the higher education sector ask colleges/universities to give institution data such as courses offered, number of students enrolled, faculty members, etc. multiple times in a year for various projects or assessments. They say. This work is then assigned to different individuals and due to lack of understanding at some level, gaps in the data collected start to appear.
“For those who are still found giving false information, the committee may suggest punitive action against them,” the official said.
Also, a second official with knowledge of the matter said that considering all the data, only the relevant and verifiable should be used for ranking so that there is no scope for mismatches, gaps or any duplication.
“For data integration, an API (application programming interface – a software that allows two applications/systems to talk to each other and exchange information) will be used to connect all the sites that have Same information is required for use. This will help in exchanging data without any hassle and if any additional or different information is required, the institutes can fill it separately. Fresh data submission will be required only once in a year except for anything additional or specially required.
For example, if UGC has stored a common set of information about a particular college and if the same information is also required by AICTE, it will automatically exchange that database through APIs and the said The institute will not have to worry about this.
“The software will ensure that only those authorized to receive the data have access to it. So when you have data integrity established and uniqueness through all platforms, even the head of the organization can evaluate it better, because it only has to be done once. This will help generate authentic data, based on which further evaluation will be done,” said the second official.
The committee has also been tasked with identifying what data should be common to all regulatory bodies, which will be posted at one place.
What was the controversy?
The alleged irregularities were flagged by an internal review panel of the council, which was set up by its former acting chairman Bhushan Patwardhan last September. Patwardhan resigned from his post on March 5 this year after the UGC “ignored” the findings of the said report, which found “malpractices, compromised IT systems, arbitrary allocation of evaluators, vested interests and ex-employees”. allowing access to internal systems”. Other”.
What is NAAC?
NAAC is an autonomous body under the UGC that grades higher education institutions in India. It is a multi-stage process through which NAAC conducts quality checks on institutions on various important parameters including curriculum, faculty, research and infrastructure.
The first step towards assessment is that institutions signing up for accreditation submit a Self-Study Report (SSR) based on qualitative and quantitative metrics, which is then verified and validated by the accrediting body’s various expert teams is done. This is followed by physical visits to the institutions by Peer Review Teams (PRTs).
Why does NAAC ranking matter?
NAAC ranking is important for HEIs for various reasons with recognition as a top advantage. Furthermore, a good ranking helps them attract capital, as funding agencies rely on these rankings before investing in them. More importantly, the ranking helps students to go abroad for higher studies, as most global higher education institutions insist on accredited colleges/universities as part of the admission criteria. Also, for student placements, hiring firms look at the overall national ranking of an institution before stepping foot on campus.
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