Overhaul of Accreditation System in India

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What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in the News?
  • About National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)
  • Objectives of NAAC
  • Meaning of Assessment & Accreditation
  • How Accreditation Process is Carried Out
  • Institutions Accredited in India
  • Benefits of Being NAAC-Accredited
  • News Summary
  • Recommendations of the Dr. K. Radhakrishnan Committee
  • How Will the New Accreditation System Work?

Why in the News?

  • The Central government plans to overhaul the accreditation system for higher educational institutes by the end of the year, replacing the current practice of assigning a score and corresponding grade with a binary system.

About National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)

  • NAAC is an autonomous body established by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
  • It was established in 1994 on the basis of recommendations made under the National Education Policy (1986).
  • It is registered under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act of 1960, Karnataka Societies Registration Rules of 1961.
  • Vision: To make quality the defining element of higher education in India through a combination of self and external quality evaluation, promotion and sustenance initiatives.
  • Headquarters: Bengaluru

Objectives of NAAC

  • To arrange for periodic assessment and accreditation of institutions of higher education or units thereof, or specific academic programmes or projects;
  • To stimulate the academic environment for promotion of quality of teaching-learning and research in higher education institutions;
  • To encourage self-evaluation, accountability, autonomy and innovations in higher education;
  • To undertake quality-related research studies, consultancy and training programmes, and
  • To collaborate with other stakeholders of higher education for quality evaluation, promotion and sustenance.

Meaning of Assessment & Accreditation

  • Assessment is the performance evaluation of an institution or its units based on certain established criteria.
  • Accreditation is the certification of quality for a fixed period, which in the case of NAAC is five years.
  • The University Grants Commission (UGC) through a gazette notification in January 2013, has made it mandatory for Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) to undergo accreditation.

How Accreditation Process is Carried Out?

The process of Assessment and Accreditation broadly consists of:

  • Online submission of Institutional Information for Quality Assessment (IIQA) and Self-Study Report (SSR).
  • Data Validation and Verification (DVV) by NAAC.
  • Student Satisfaction Survey (SSS) by NAAC.
  • Peer Team Visit.
  • Institutional Grading.

Institutions Accredited in India

Institutions Accredited in India

  • There are 1,043 universities and 42,343 colleges listed on the portal of the All India Survey on Higher Education.
    • Out of these, 392 universities and 8,483 colleges are NAAC-accredited.
  • Region-wise, the northern states have the highest number of accredited universities at 136, followed by the south (113), the west (72), the east (52) and the Northeast (19).
  • Among the states, Maharashtra accounts for the highest number of accredited colleges at 1,796.
  • Tamil Nadu has the most accredited universities (43).

Benefits of Being NAAC-Accredited

  • Through a multi-layered process steered by the NAAC, a higher education institution gets to know whether it meets certain standards of quality set by the evaluator in terms of curriculum, faculty, infrastructure, research and financial well-being among others.
  • Based on these parameters, the NAAC gives institutions grades ranging from A++ to C. If an institution is graded D, it means it is not accredited.
  • Apart from recognition, being accredited also helps institutions attract capital as funding agencies look for objective data for performance funding.
  • It helps an institution know its strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities through an informed review process.
  • NAAC accreditation helps students going for higher education abroad as many global higher education authorities insist on recognition and accreditation of the institution where the student has studied.
  • Moreover, employers also look for reliable information on the quality of prospective recruits’ education, and an NAAC grading helps.

News Summary

  • The Central government plans to overhaul the accreditation system for higher educational institutes by the end of the year.
  • The plan is to replace the current practice of assigning a score and corresponding grade with a binary system, where institutions will be declared either accredited or unaccredited without specific scores or grades.
  • The NAAC announced that the proposed reforms in the current accreditation system, put forth by the committee headed by former ISRO chairman Dr. K Radhakrishnan, have been accepted by the Education Ministry.

Recommendations of the Dr. K. Radhakrishnan Committee

  • The committee has recommended that the IITs should be brought under the ambit of NAAC.
    • Currently, IITs follow their internal systems for periodic peer evaluation and assessment of programmes.
  • Binary Accreditation System:
    • Currently, NAAC follows an eight-point grading system under which institutes are rated A++, A+, A, B++, B+, B, C and D based on data submitted by institutes and their verification by expert teams during campus visits.
    • The committee has suggested that under the new system, institutes be certified as “Accredited” or “Not Accredited (for those who are far below the standards for accreditation)”.
    • A separate category of “Awaiting Accreditation” will cover institutes which are “close to the threshold level” or accreditation.
  • The committee has also proposed that the entire accreditation process be made less dependent on inspections by teams of experts by adopting the mechanism of “crowdsourcing”.
    • The idea now is to get the inputs submitted by the institutes vetted by a “carefully chosen set of audience with diverse association with the concerned institutes”.
    • This set of audience may include students (including PhD and postdoctoral scholars), faculty, staff, alumni, official visitors such as selection committee members, employers of the students, etc.
  • National Accreditation Council (NAAC):
    • Lastly, the Radhakrishnan committee has proposed that instead of having separate bodies for accrediting institutes and courses, one overarching agency be set up.
    • The proposed National Accreditation Council (NAAC), envisaged by the NEP, should also subsume the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), which ranks higher education institutes.

How Will the New Accreditation System Work?

  • At present, the NAAC assesses institutions and awards grades based on scores.
    • If a higher education institution gets a score between 3.51 and 4, it gets an A++ grade.
    • A score between 3.26 and 3.50 gets an A+ grade, and a score between 3.01 and 3.25 gets an A grade.
    • There are eight grades in total, including C for scores between 1.51 and 2, which means basic accreditation, and D for scores below 1.51, indicating unaccredited status.
  • Under the proposed binary accreditation system, higher educational institutions will be given either:
    • Accredited” tag or
    • Not Accredited” tag
  • The “Not Accredited” will be further divided into two sub-categories:
    • Awaiting Accreditation” for those institutes that nearly meet the requirements but need improvement, and
    • Not Accredited” for the ones that are far below the standards for accreditation.
  • Another reform that NAAC announced was the implementation of the “Maturity-Based Graded Accreditation”, in addition to the binary system.
    • The former is for higher education institutions that have secured the “accredited” tag under the binary system and is for them to graduate “level one” to “level five”.
    • From level-one – an accredited institute – the plan is to incentivise improvement up to level-4 where an institution will become an “Institution of National Excellence”.
    • Further, the move to level-5 to get the tag of “Institution of Global Excellence for Multi-Disciplinary Research and Education”.
  • With reference to IITs, it’s not clear if they will be mandated to participate once NAAC rolls out the binary accreditation.

Q1. What is the percentage of the education budget in India 2022?

According to India's latest Economic Survey 2022-23, total education outlay, including both national and state level expenditure, added up to 2.9 per cent of the country's 2022 GDP – a proportion that has remained constant for the last four years.

Q2. How a College becomes a University in India?

Under Section 3 of the UGC Act deemed to be university status is granted by the Central Government to those educational institutions of repute, which fulfill the prescribed standards and comply with various requirements laid down by the University Grants Commission.


Source: Govt plans accreditation system overhaul for higher educational institutes by December | ET