Colleges, and NAAC Assessment: A Perspective!

The UGC has made the NAAC accreditation mandatory for all recognised higher education institutions of the country and has linked it with the funding
Colleges, and NAAC Assessment: A Perspective!

National Assessment and AccreditationCouncil (NAAC), a sovereign body was established by University GrantsCommission (UGC) in 1994 on the recommendations of National EducationPolicy-1986 with an aim to assess and accredit the higher educationinstitutions in order to enhance and improve the quality of higher education inthe country. NAAC has identified 34 key indicators distributed among sevencriteria on which an institution is assessed. The criteria are: CurricularAspects; Teaching-Learning & Evaluation; Research, Innovations&Extension; Infrastructure & Learning Resources; Student Support&Progression; Governance, Leadership & Management; and InstitutionalValues & Best Practices. These criteria are relevant to the universitiesand colleges of the country, but the scale of evaluation varies from college touniversity. For a college much focus is on teaching, learning and evaluationwhereas in university core attraction point is research, consultancy &extension. After calculating CGPA, the grades being granted to the institutionby NAAC based on its performance which varies from A++ to C.

The UGC has made the NAAC accreditationmandatory for all recognised higher education institutions of the country andhas linked it with the funding. The higher the performance in the accreditationthe more funds are granted.

In Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh a good somecolleges have not applied for NAAC accreditation, many colleges have submittedSelf Study Report (SSR) but rejected by NAAC at that level only and thosecolleges which submitted SSR and were accredited are granted very low gradesi.e. to the maximum of B only.

Since 2017, 23 colleges of Jammu andKashmir (including Ladakh) were assessed and accredited by NAAC. Thoughbeautiful draping stages were set by each college but only 10 colleges wereaccredited with grade B and 13 were accredited with grade C. After analysingthe cumulative grade points, it was found that most of the colleges accreditedwith grade B were touching the base line of the grade. Similarly, the cumulativegrade of all 23 colleges was found 1.94 only, which indicates cumulative gradeC for all colleges. It is pertinent to mention here that at national levelduring the same period only 19% institutions; were accredited with grade C buthere the percentage is 57. The percentage of institutions at the national levelwhich are accredited with B+ and higher is 45 but unfortunately here no collegetouched that grade. Instead, some prestigious colleges were downgraded from Ato B which is a cause of grave concern for the entire society, though it isalso a fact that the criteria of assessment by NAAC has evolved a lot over thecourse of time.

After analysing NAAC report cards of mostof these recently accredited colleges, it could be inferred that these collegeslag quite badly in each of these parameters. After making anatomy of the scorecards of each college we could identify 03 common core areas in which almostall colleges showed abysmal performance. Those areas are: Research, Innovations& Extension; Student Support & Progression and Institutional Values& Best Practices.

The causes of stumpy show of our collegesis contentious but we could find possible reasons which are tinted here:

Curriculum at college level is not updatedvery frequently by the affiliating University. Most of the times the board asand when it meets for updating curriculum does not take college teachers onboard and it is very rarely seen that student representative from the collegeis also a part of the board. The curriculum is theoretical in nature only andresearch at undergraduate level is not a priority.

Modern education is incomplete withoutmodern infrastructure and other learning resources. Colleges which areestablished in 21st Century in J&K and Ladakh are still facing acuteshortage of infrastructure which affects the entire teaching learning process.Most of colleges lack proper infrastructure that affects the quality ofeducation. Now that we intend to move to online education as per the UGC latestguidelines but here we need to see whether these colleges are having directuninterrupted power supply and internet connectivity or not. Keeping in viewthe enrolment of students the number of computer stations is also very minimalin each college.

The teachers in colleges are leastencouraged to go for orientation programmes and refresher courses to updatetheir content knowledge & pedagogical skills.

The research component in each college isvery weak. There is least focus on research. Those teachers who have researchexperience at their back are discouraged to conduct action research. Researchbased teaching is often missing inside the classrooms because the syllabuscompletion is the main target to achieve. There is no proper mechanism in placefor those Teachers who have been appointed in colleges without researchexperience for pursuance of their research Degrees which would have definitelyhelped these colleges to get higher grades on assessment scale. Due to shortageof adequate staff, sometimes institutional heads are compelled to delay theircases so that they are retained in the college.

Student progression is dependent upon thestudent support services. Almost no college has provided satisfactory servicesto students which becomes an impediment in their progression. Our institutionshave also not maintained the academic calendar properly. Three years bachelor'sdegree is now stretched to 4-5 years though the reasons for the same could bedebated.

The governance, leadership and managementof higher education are in vacuum. Each college is being governed by theGovernment on the one side and on the other it is being guided by theaffiliating university and in this process, colleges are caught between twomasters. Despite having some of the very hard working and talented professorsas the heads of the institutions, they are not able to perform up to theiroptimal level because of many constrains. Moreover, it is also a fact that theheads of the colleges are promoted only on the basis of their seniority and theleadership qualities, administrative skills and other qualifications are notgiven due weightage. A good number of college heads are in-charge principalsdue to which they lack decision making power.

Autonomy of any institution leads to bestpractices. Using smart board is not a best practice but a basic requirement inthe virtual word. The best practice for an institution must be innovative,radical and out of the box. The institutional values should be to build peerand public perception.

There is no space for proper training ofcollege teachers to be good paper setters, invigilators, and evaluators.Question papers are being set randomly by teachers without taking care ofrubrics of instructional and course objectives.

For the quality improvement of highereducation in Jammu & Kashmir, college education should be our priority. Ifwe aspire to have top ranked colleges, it is inescapable to improve the qualityand work on NAAC parameters more especially the college principals ought topursue a course in educational administration before they are promoted asprincipals. The curriculum should be made research oriented and teachinglearning process be aligned with Project Based Learning (PBL). The teachersneed to be facilitated and engaged in their research. Student support servicesneed to be strengthened and made fully operational. Institutional values needto be upgraded and enhanced with the latest technologies prevalent ineducation. Novel ways and innovative means of educative process should beimplemented in the colleges especially those located in rural areas. Governmentshould also offer adequate human resource and full financial support to ourcolleges without which quality improvement is impossible.

Dr. Mohammad Sayid Bhat Sr. Assistant Professor, Department of Education, Central University of Kashmir, (dsayeed3@gmail.com).

Manzoor Ahmad Parey Assistant Professor, Higher Education Department, Govt. Degree College Ganderbal Kashmir, (manzoorparey@gmail.com).

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