National Assessment and Accreditation Committee

National Assessment and Accreditation Committee

News: This article discusses the problems associated with the National Assessment and Accreditation Committee (NAAC).

What is NAAC?
 NAAC is an autonomous body established by the University Grants Commission (UGC). HQ - Bengaluru
 It was established in 1994 on the basis of recommendations made under the National Education Policy (1986).
 Mandate - It conducts assessment and accreditation of Higher Educational Institutions (HEI) such as colleges, universities or other recognised institutions to derive an understanding of the ‘Quality Status’ of the institution.

What are the issues observed with NAAC?
 Complaints have been raised about its accreditation system, i.e. they are unreliable and corrupted. For example, a private university has received the highest achievable grade within just over a few years of establishment.
 Further, accreditation is granted to institutions for the papers they claim to have published without questioning them about the linkages between their research and industry.
 No verifications are made for the patents won by the institutions, or about the creation of new products/procedures claimed by the institutions. It assesses outcomes poorly. 
 The Joreel committee has also drawn attention to the fact that NAAC depends on institutional processes for assessment rather than using scientific methods to validate the data. Hence, NAAC is adopting opacity in its system of accreditation.

How is accreditation process carried out?
 The current accreditation approach has been described as “input-based”. In other words, NAAC relies heavily on self-assessment reports of applicant institutions.
 The first step has an applicant institution submitting a self-study report of information related to quantitative and qualitative metrics. The data is then validated by NAAC expert teams followed by peer team visits to the institutions.

Way Forward
 The education system is about to undergo a rapid transformation due to the advancement of AI and other technologies. Thus, it is necessary to evaluate the universities properly before granting them accreditation.
 UGC and the education ministry must step in to check the corruption involved in the accreditation system. 

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