Remembering Professor Nusrat Andrabi

She had an intense desire to promote quality academic institutions and worked for the same goal all her life in different capacities
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Dr Nazir Ahmad Gilkar

Born in September 1945 at historical town of Mattan, Anantnag, Dr Nusrat Andrabi passed her Matriculation Examination in 1962. Her family shifted to Magarmal Bagh Srinagar. She completed her BA programme from Government College for Women MA Road Srinagar and pursued her MA programme in Urdu from Kashmir University. Prof Nusrat was appointed as lecturer in Urdu in 1968 and posted in Government College for Women MA Road Srinagar. She pursued Ph D programme as in-service candidate under the supervision of Prof Aal-e-Ahmad Suroor.

After serving as faculty of Urdu for three+ decades in Govt. College for Women, MA Road Srinagar, Dr Nusrat was elevated as Principal and posted in Government College for Women Baramulla in August 2000. After some time she was transferred to Government College for Women Nawakadal and subsequently took over the governance of Government College for Women M A Road Srinagar. She retired after serving higher education department for 35 years on 30th September 2003.

Prof Nusrat Andrabi was interested in growth and development of higher education institutions. She had an intense desire to promote quality academic institutions and worked for the same goal all her life in different capacities. Dr Nusrat was the soul of the cultural life of the institutions in which she worked. She was equally respected by students and colleagues as teacher and as a leader.

She worked for welfare of teachers as vice president of CTA. Her presentations were full of content. She had strong hold on communication and would speak with full confidence and competence. She was fond of books on different subjects and languages and a voracious reader as well. She used to carry a new title in the bag to be readout during her travel in non-stop bus from Batmaloo to Baramulla and way back. She used to visit college libraries frequently and advised her colleagues and students to see new arrivals.

On learning that Baramulla College and Bandipora College obtained higher grades during their respective accreditation cycles conducted recently, Dr Nusrat was overwhelmed with joy and expressed her feelings with colleagues/friends and congratulated the college principles and faculty.

She left for heavenly abode on 3rd October, 2021. It is in aforesaid back drop that the authors have chosen the theme, “NEP 2020 and Accreditation Process”, for this memorial lecture.

NEP 2020 is a comprehensive education policy document. In order to study structural reforms envisaged in NEP 2020, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of earlier education policy documents and reports of various Commissions/Committees.

The NEP 2020 is to be studied in its proper context and not in isolation. It has so many dimensions. It emphasises upon creating academic bank of credits (ABC) and is all inclusive. The focus is on leveraging technology. However, there is still digital divide in the society, that needs to be addressed. Innovation, creative and critical thinking occupy pivotal position in this policy document.

The language policy envisaged in the document is best suited for the emancipation of a multi-lingual society like ours. Multidisciplinary approach liberates the education system from the shackles of discipline specific curriculum/degree. This will give birth to hundreds of course combinations. The existing Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) is closed-end whereas the new policy envisages academic freedom with open-ended curriculum. Knowledge, values and skills go hand in hand. The policy envisages 360 degree assessment of learners. This covers a complete circle and provides flexibility in examination, assessment and evaluation. This motivates faculty to workout alternate systems for examination to discourage rote memorisation and promote creative and critical thinking. Accordingly the UGC-HRD centres have to redesign pedagogy of their programmes. Accreditation is the fourth vertical under NEP2020. The Programme of Action (POA) under consideration is expected to provide a complete action agenda for the policy.

The NAAC induced a culture of self-introspection in the institutions of higher learning for quality sustenance and enhancement. Institutions came up with vision and mission documents that made them self-conscious about their direction and goals that they were committed to pursue. NAAC accreditation is based on 07 criteria and 32 key indicators.

After 20 years NAAC overhauled accreditation instrument in July 2014. The earlier instrument was all descriptive. However, the new instrument is based on a seventy:thirty mix for quantitative and qualitative response. This comprises 80 quantitative metrics and 41 qualitative metrics. The peer team during its visit to an institution verifies qualitative data. With due regard to NEP 2020 the accreditation process has to be revisited and reviewed by National Accreditation Council (NAC). Accordingly after thorough debate and discussion the nomenclature of different criteria may be changed and arranged in order of their preference/priority. The total weightage based on which HEIs are evaluated is 1000 points. The allocation made for each criterion may also be revisited.

Accordingly, this paper proposes that different criteria may be arranged in the order of their preference as under:

Academic Leadership and Accreditation (C-6);

Curriculum Management and Accreditation (C-1 & 2);

Capacity Utilization and Accreditation (C-4);

Research-Innovation and Accreditation (C-3);

Student Development and Accreditation (C-5);

Institutional Distinctiveness (C-7).

A series of write-ups have been published in GK and afore said criteria/themes have been critically examined and deliberated upon for past four months. Need of the hour is to compile comprehensive academic audit manual. This may comprise variety of audit observations/ questions to guide an institution in its improved functioning to meet accreditation requirements. It is better if each institution has its own academic audit manual. NAAC is conducted after every five year period. However, comprehensive academic audit should be a regular exercise in higher education institutions.

No doubt online mode for dissemination of knowledge has been put in practice during Covid-19 period. But this option is not a stable substitute to the face to face class room transaction. Any serious scholar can foresee that this flawed system will have its implications visible after some years. We have already seen the adverse implications of mass copying, resorted to in the past, in some segments of the society.

It is appreciable that some colleges arranged academic webinars to discuss NEP 2020. However, all colleges should arrange seminars/ workshops to deliberate upon NEP 2020 and its Programme of Action. These academic events should be arranged engaging students actively being the main stake holder in the education system. A platform should be provided to the students to present papers and share their ideas for implementation of this policy document.

There should have been a time bound follow-up by the Higher Education Department as to how the individual institutions were trying to meet the NAAC recommendations, what difficulties they were confronted with in implementing these recommendations and how the department may assist them in the process. Taken in right perspective accreditation process is an engine for growth, development and quality institution building.

May almighty Allah shower His choicest blessings upon the departed noble soul. Ameen.

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