Student Development and Accreditation

The campus should always be abuzz with activities that lead to intellectual development of students.
Student Development and Accreditation
Students during an open-air class in north Kashmir. [File]Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

BY Prof Mohammad Ismail, Dr Meem Hai Zaffer, Dr Nazir Ahmad Gilkar

Student development refers to the ways in which students grow and progress during their stay in the institutions of higher learning. This aims at developing the personality of students. The students of diverse background and from different strata of society are intended to go through this process. A variety of factors influence student development. These include, socialization, confronting challenges, learning experiences, course content, instructional strategies, inclusive learning ecosystem and student engagement. All these will lead to steering student developmental trajectory.

It is essential to make efforts to fully ascertain and respectfully acknowledge students’ positions. It is, therefore, necessary to encourage students’ logical and inquisitive assertions. By doing so, their morale is boosted and they are groomed creatively, while coming out of comfort/protected zones into higher levels of personality development as their conceptual horizons are widened.

The NAAC Criterion 5 relates to Student Support and Progression. This criterion highlights the efforts of an institution to provide necessary assistance to students, to enable them to acquire meaningful experience for learning at the campus and to facilitate their holistic development and progression. It also looks into student performance and alumni profiles and the progression of the students towards advanced studies and gainful employment. This criterion is spread over four key Indicators comprising student support (5%), Student Progression (4.5%), Student Participation in Activities (2.5%) and Alumni Engagement (1%). This criterion carries 13% of aggregate weightage. There are fourteen Quantitative Metrics and only one Qualitative Metric.

The analysis reveals that the Key Indicator Student Support identifies the areas like capability enhancement, career counselling and guidance, vocational education, scholarship beneficiaries and grievance redress. The three quantitative metrics under student progression are student pass-outs, pursuance of higher education and students qualifying competitive examinations. Whereas, the third Key Indicator relating to Student Participation in Activities covers areas like medals won, student council and supports/cultural events organised. The fourth indicator moves around Alumni Engagement in terms of Alumni contribution and events organised towards development of institution. All these are expressed in relative terms either in percentages or number of times. This is the only criterion that consists of all Quantitative Metrics, except one. The information provided in extended summary of SSR is very essential so for as computation of quantitative metrics are concerned.

The academic auditors should have a deep understanding of NEP 2020,

accreditation process audit, institutional governance, curriculum management, capacity utilization and so on as discussed in a series of our write-ups published in GK. A set of sample audit observations/questions relative to this criterion may be as under:

1. What sort of mechanisms are adopted by the institution towards generation of information about advanced studies / employment of pass outs.

2. How students experience different phases of instability? Steps initiated enabling them to make critical decisions about their identity, interpersonal relationships and other aspects of life.

3. How intellectual capabilities are developed in students?

4. What steps have been taken to develop abstract thinking of students based on their individual interests and capacities?

5. Measures taken for developing the ethical and moral behaviour by way of evolving from simple to complex ways of interpreting the world during their stay in the institution.

6. Model for students’ effective ways of using the knowledge that they acquire. Demonstrate methods of high-quality work.

7. Enumerate opportunities provided to students to practice using the skills they have gained in a class setting.

8. What measures have been taken to address systemic inequality and transformative practices conducive to social justice?

9. Steps initiated to guide student in the practices and policies that impact their development.

10. Has the institution been able to carve a niche and distinctiveness based on this criterion?

The student development policy of an institution with regard to their overall personality development should focus on:

The campus has to create an ecosystem conducive to composite social behaviour, for the students belonging to any race, ethnicity, gender, class, religion, geography etc; these intersecting identities are situated within larger societal structures of privilege and oppression that affect individuals in different ways. Contextual factors including peers, norms, family, stereotypes, and socio-political conditions, among others, influence development. The campus climate should be conducive to eliminate both the sense of marginality and the sense of not fitting in the system on the part of a section of the students.

The campus should always be abuzz, leading to intellectual/cognitive development of students. They are to be made capable of breaking the paradigm paralysis and initiate paradigm shifts. They have to move from routine to unique performance with the help of intellectual development. Students should exhibit different intellectual growth patterns, particularly with regard to ways of knowing, perceptions and about sources and interpretation of information. Some Spur students may transition away from routine perceptions towards independent thought. They need to be groomed and encouraged by the highly creative and productive members of the faculty, as this can’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Only a lamp that is burning itself can enlighten another lamp with a potential.

The objective is to ensure emotional stability and improve upon emotional quotient of students. Individuals cannot exhibit certain behaviours until they are emotionally willing to do so. Individual differences in personality, interests and styles influence emotional development and play a role in how individuals respond to stimuli, support, and challenge. There is always resistance to change. Thus, anticipate resistance to this requirement. It is incumbent on faculty, therefore, to shift teaching strategies away from simple information delivery, testing, and grading towards facilitating guidance, counselling and coaching. This can easily be done by communicating and sharing with students the purpose and rationale for these instructional decisions to offset the probable resistance.

Students belonging to different starta of the society and coming from the varied cultural backgrounds need to be provided with a platform which will enable them to learn from one another. By attending to the full spectrum of students’ diverse identities foster a supportive campus environment for inclusive culture. Therefore, it is essential to build a harmonious rapport by identifying individual students and giving them a voice in important decision making process. Their effective participation is essential in establishing course policies and inviting their opinion for change, obtaining feedback and seeking suggestions to perform on the wider socio-cultural canvass. The choice based/multidisciplinary curriculum envisaged in NEP 2020 paves a way in this direction.

Physical development of students plays a pivotal role. It is said that the battle of Waterloo was won in the field of Eaton. Student participation in activities conducted in play fields, gyms, yoga centres, trekking, mountaineering adventure, swimming and so on have a positive role in physical development of students. NEP 2020 makes it essential for students to be engaged in supports/games enabling them to participate in global level competitive events. For healthy mind there must be healthy body. Thus, there must be regular timing on the campus for supports activities.

The core values of an institution support students’ ethical/moral growth by challenging the wrong beliefs/ superstitions. The role of faculty is to enrich character development of students through relevant and applicable knowledge. The procedures and methodologies should enable them to make fair judgments. It is required in this regard to lead by example in order to hone ethical development of students.

This write-up concludes that student charter, graduate attributes and student development should move together. The ecosystem created in the institution through teaching-learning process should provide reasonable challenge to learners across the spectrum of overall development. The mission statement of the institution should communicate learning objectives and learning outcome clearly. It should be explicit about the purpose of those objectives and expectations to help students see the relevance to their learning and promote a sense of student belonging. Accordingly, it is required to plan stimulating curricula across all disciplines to engage students in the psychological, social, cultural, ethical and moral dimensions, in addition to the cognitive or purely academic pursuits.

(Based on inputs gathered from available literature/internet.)

This write-up is dedicated to those creative members of the faculty who contribute towards the overall personality development of students.

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