BY Prof Mohammad Ismail, Dr Meem Hai Zaffer and Dr Nazir Ahmad Gilkar
Accreditation is one of the four verticals envisaged in NEP 2020. National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) has been re-designated as National Accreditation Council (NAC). Assessment and Accreditation until now has been done based on Seven Criteria. Governance, Leadership and Management is the 6th criterion. Keeping in view the importance and content of this lead criterion it should have been positioned at serial one followed by other criteria. This criterion carries 100 points or 10% of the aggregate weightage. It should have been given more weightage because the other criteria move around this foundational criterion as effective academic leadership is supposed to play a pivotal role in governance and management in an academic organization.
This criterion is spread over five key indicators comprising twelve Qualitative Metrics (Ql M) and seven Quantitative Metrics (Qn M). This criterion basically covers three main areas, viz. Governance, Leadership and Management. Key indicators 1 to 3 relate to governance like Vision, Development and Empowerment and the Key Indicators 4 and 5 relate to Management (Financial, HR and Quality Management). All these key indicators work under institutional leadership.
The institutional leadership may guide IQAC to compile IQAR annually. The faculty associated with IQAC should arrange mid-term mock accreditation by local assessors who visit different institutions outside J&K. This process will activate the functioning of the institutions and the leadership in the institution have to be assertive.
IQAC in institutions under the guidance of academic leadership may fix target scores at the beginning of accreditation cycle. This target numerical score will guide an institution in its performance and at the end of each year the gaps, if any, could be made up during the next year. This process will be followed during the entire reference period. The institutions may fix targets department-wise in order to see that each department in a college contributes towards total target score fixed in the beginning of the accreditation cycle to stimulate the efforts to be put in by the faculty.
While attempting objective analyses it is clear that this criterion moves around institutional leadership for governance and management. Therefore, more and more academic leaders (principals) should be given an opportunity to perform as assessors to enable them to visit varied HEIs in the country. They will study best practices together with institutional values, innovations, grey and green areas of such institutions. This way they will gain more experience and exposure to lead their own institutions effectively. They should also participate and contribute to the academic input of annual conferences organised by Indian College Principals Association in the country. Convenors of IQAC of the college sector may also be made eligible to act as assessors by NAAC.
The process/ methodology of uploading Institutional Information on websites has offered valuable facility and advantage for inter institutional comparison by studying the SSRs of any number of institutions thereby providing an opportunity to learn about performance appraisal of such institutions to activate ourselves for preparing the report and response to the questionnaires regarding their institutions.
The Accreditation process is transparent and accountable when SSR is uploaded on NAAC website. This makes it mandatory for the institutional leadership to ensure that all the information provided in SSR is fair, correct and factual. It is experienced that NAAC asks for providing more information as per plate. Efforts should be made to ensure that all requisite supportive information is provided with uploading of the SSR so that no or minimum deficiencies are pointed out by the NAAC. This is also substantiated by NEP 2020 that focuses on transparency and accountability in institutional functioning.
When SSR is uploaded on the website it becomes a public document and remains in the public domain for all the stake holders in the system. This keeps them abreast of availability of physical infrastructure, faculty, funding, research output, publications of the institution, besides teaching-learning process. This provides a clear glimpse of the institution to all the stake holders. The administrative department should take cognisance of this fact that accreditation is based on quality, equity and accountability. As regards necessary physical and intellectual resources in institutions of the same size / performance are concerned sans disparity.
The qualitative metrics refer to: Academic Leadership should ensure that governance of institutions should be in tune with vision statement. There should be perspective strategic plan with empowering faculty in participative management through corporate life of the institution. Organisational structure of the institution should be self-explanatory as regards different academic bodies, financial and HR practices. IQAC should have a vibrant Academic Audit Committee to evaluate the performance of an institution periodically criterion wise. Technically our system is reflective of all these parameters but practically we find a number of gaps here and there.
The quantitative metrics on the other hand focus on the following areas: implementation of e-governance, participation of teachers in academic conferences, organisation of professional development programmes for faculty and staff, participation of faculty and staff in professional development programmes, mobilisation of financial resources, quality initiatives by IQAC for developing quality culture and feedback from different stake holders.
The faculty in an institution should have thorough understanding of both types of metrics. At the time of transfer of faculty from an institution it should be made obligatory for the faculty concerned to submit the work done report during the period under reference in order to make IQAC capable to gather relevant evidence. Otherwise at the time of writing SSR at the end of the cycle becomes difficult and IQAC is handicapped for want of such evidences.
The Higher Education Department and UGC HRD Centre should organise workshops periodically in different institutions with due regard to the geographic location; to cover subject matter of this criterion. Besides academic leaders, IQAC Coordinators may participate in such workshops. These workshops may be conducted on-line and offline or in a blended mode. The intent is to develop and evolve over the period academic leaders, their capabilities in governance and management of the institution. Later on they can perform as resource persons to guide faculty in their respective institutions.
To conclude, with the implementation of NEP 2020 the accreditation criteria also need to be revisited and reviewed. The present write up creates space for critical analysis of other criteria as well by subject experts. The intent of entire process is to promote academic culture in institutions of learning. Only effective and creative governance and management can guarantee strong academic health of our education institutions.
The write up is dedicated to our revered teachers who taught us lessons of life.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.