DR NAZIR AHMAD GILKAR
This is in continuation to our earlier write-ups published in GK (07 June, & 19 July, 2021). Accreditation process has undergone different changes for past 27 years. Curriculum management comprises planning, transaction and evaluation. In the background of this context Criterion 1 (Curricular Aspects) and Criterion 2 (Teaching-Learning and Evaluation) of NAAC Accreditation should have been merged. This write-up studies both these criteria as one unit. Putting together Criteria 1 and 2 carry 450 points or 45% of the aggregate weightage. Furthermore these criteria are subject to student survey and Data Verification and Validity. In the merged Criterion there are twelve Key Indicators (KIs). These include 11 Qualitative Metrics (Ql M) and 23 Quantitative Metrics (Qn M).
The key indicators move around subjects like Curriculum Planning and Implementation, Academic Flexibility, Curriculum Enrichment, Student Enrolment/Profile, Student Diversity, TLP, Teacher Profile / Quality, Evaluation Process and Reforms, Student Performance and Learning Outcome and Feedback System. It is in place to mention that planning includes design and development of curriculum.
This reflects job profile of higher education teachers. Every teacher is required to be sensitised to these aspects of their profile and expected to contribute during their performance vis-à-vis this job description. Once they perform as expected by this job profile the academic productivity and quality will enhance. It is because of added significance of the criterion under discussion that it carries nearly half of the total weightage.
The college faculty, those not directly engaged in framing of the curriculum, have a key role by way of expressing their opinion with regard to curriculum planning. They are required to design innovative courses of study, review existing course structure/content and submit their expressions through write ups/articles to the concerned Board of Studies for consideration and implementation.
The NEP 2020 focus on skill development in Higher Education Institutions. Skills are categorised as industrial skills, entrepreneurial skills and behavioural skills. These skills can also be categorised as hard skills and soft skills. The colleges are academic institutions so hard or industrial skills are not imparted there. However, soft skills or behavioural skills and entrepreneurial skills are developed in these institutions. The focus primarily is on episteme and not on techne. There is a need to apply this knowledge and make learners capable in real life situation through development of this skill set. At least 12 soft skills have been identified including five domain dependent skills vis. problem-solving, creativity, analysis, synthesis and critical evaluating. This is in consonance with Bloom’s Taxonomy like comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation of knowledge. This is also the aim of LOCF (2018). And, domain independent skills are same across all disciplines and seven in number like team work, communication, ethics, IT / financial management, lifelong learning and creativity.
The institutions should also work towards inculcating universal human values like aesthetic values, nonviolence, patience, persistence, courage, flexibility, love, community service, humanistic approach, truth, righteousness, conduct, scientific temper, tolerance and so on to empower learners across all disciplines. It is worthwhile to mention that NAAC seventh criterion relates to institutional values, best practices and distinctiveness.
Today the emphasis is upon outcome based education. There are programme outcomes and course outcomes. For every course of study there are predetermined learning objectives and learning outcomes. To discuss the philosophy of course content with due regard to learning objectives is the responsibility of a teacher. Whereas attaining learning outcomes and be capable to perform is the responsibility of a learner. In this regard a teacher performs as a guide, facilitator and mentor. This leads to a shift from teacher centred to learner centric pedagogy.
The UGC issued guidelines for the conduct of terminal semester
examination for the year 2021 through online or offline or a blended mode. The regulator gave an opportunity to opt for any mode. Online examinations are preferred when these are proctored to ensure faire conduct of examinations. It is in place to mention that offline examination can either be conducted by assembling examinees in an examination hall or sending question papers to them at their residence. The later offers an opportunity for open book examination. When focus is on learner centric pedagogy it demands switch over from closed book examination to open book examination. Similarly rote memorisation and note dictation are to be discouraged because note dictation in classroom promotes rote memorisation. Emphasis is upon creativity and innovation. Therefore, open book system is to be practiced. In open book system traditional question paper setting will not work. But a new approach is to be adopted and faculty has to work smart to set a question paper on this pattern. As a matter of fact it is a big challenge for the examining faculty. They need to be creative and genuinely skilled to transact course content in a different way and accordingly work for new methodology for evaluation. Accreditation demands for examination and evaluation reforms from time to time. The NEP has also envisaged that reforms in examination and evaluation should take place to meet the requirements of 21st century.
This is in line with NEP 2020 when we refer to pedagogy for 5+3+3+4. At level 1st play way method is adopted. At level 2nd emphasis is on experiential learning. At level 3rd focus is on vocational education. At level 4th the focus is on creativity and innovation. In this background colleges have to adopt an effective pedagogy for higher order creativity.
The HED recently constituted two divisional level committees for NAAC Accreditation comprising eight members each under the convenor ship of respective Nodal Principals. Accordingly 9 colleges have been assigned to each member for conducting virtual workshops for hand holding of these colleges with regard to NAAC methodology and preparation of SSR. It is highly appreciable that a group of principals has been assigned the job of performing as resource persons and subject matter specialists. This step will not only enrich the internal resources of the department but will also boost the morale of the faculty. A series of workshops have been conducted engaging college principals, IQAC Coordinators and faculty as participants. However, this committee is not based on equity, Vis-a-Vis district-wise, discipline -wise and gender-wise participation. As regards Kashmir division three districts like Ganderbal, Badgam and Shopian are unrepresented as resource persons. Languages and education are missing and social sciences are not adequately represented as resource persons. Furthermore, no female principal has representation in the committee as a subject matter specialist. The department should have consulted select working academics while constituting these committees.
Until now the objective was to see that HEIs are accredited by NAAC. However, in her inaugural address during a series of virtual workshops Secretary Higher Education emphasised upon all colleges to obtain A+ grade equivalent to 3.01 above score. She further stressed that all the stakeholders should work closely to obtain the target score. Her argument is based on the claim that adequate infrastructure is available in all institutions that are due for accreditation. Academic leaders and faculty of these institutions need to be fully motivated and work in unison towards desired outcome.
We would like to conclude this write-up with a quotation from Hans-Georg Gadamer’s article, “Education is Self-Education”:
Today is much more the case of conforming to what is in fashion,
So that one cannot readily go against the trend if one can not
Substantiate with a citation. One must, however, be able to take
a risk, even when the outcome is not clear. That is a concern that we
here a lot today that also in our economy there is far too much rule
following and avoidance of risk. Who really has learned then, if he/she
has not learned from his/her own mistakes? … But I still maintain that
human capabilities are the ones to stress if one is to educate and to
cultivate oneself, and that only then, when we succeed in that, will we
also survive without damage from the progress of technology and
The write-up is dedicated to those creative people who inspire us by learning from their own mistakes.