NEP 3.0 and Innovative Pedagogy

Need for Academic and Administrative Audit (AAA)
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NEP 2020 is the third in series after Education Policies of 1968 and 1986. This policy document was adopted in 2020 by the Union Cabinet. The policy is gradually in the process of implementation. J & K is the first to start implementation of this policy right from 2022 in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

The term pedagogy is used forty one times in the policy document that reflects its significance in curriculum management. Pedagogy is all inclusive and covers four essential elements relating to curriculum such as creative and innovative teacher, creative and innovative learner, inspiring and outcome based content and updated technology contrary to traditional approach (teacher-learner-content-technology). In case of content it is supported by student centric methodologyin flipped mode on the one hand and on the other by 360 degree assessment. 

Until now course content delivery was purely teacher centred and learner had a little role in content transaction. Now there has been a shift from teacher centred to learner centric content transaction. Furthermore, the evaluation at the end of the semester was purely based on cognitive attainment of a learner. It was rather only 90 degree evaluation. Until now focus was on summative evaluation. NEP 3.0 emphasises upon formative assessment. The NEP 3.O focuses on assessment for cognitive, cultural, affective and psycho motor (knowledge-values/attitudes-skill) attainment of learners in an integrated manner. Thus, it is an inclusive assessment of whatever a learner is engaged in, on as well as off the campus whether academic or non-academic activities.

Regular curriculum transaction for 1st semester of degree program under NEP 3.Ostarted from August, 2022 in line with common/uniform academic calendar in sync with national calendar.At present these students are pursuing their studies in the second semester. By now neither a university nor an autonomous college has come out with an effective model for any dimension for implementation of NEP 2020. They are still engaged in discussing number of credits per major or minor course of study. The intent of NEP 3. O is to develop a creative, innovative and critical learner. A teacher,thus, has to be more creative, innovative and critical keeping in view his profession to meet the contemporary challenges. The present write-up in this context focus on inspiring and outcome based course content, student centric learning and 360 degree assessment besides updated technology.

It is pertinent to refer to the concept note on Academic and Administrative Audit (AAA) issued by NAAC dated 17th April, 2017. The NAAC has evolved guidelines for improving quality at different levels of HEIs and for its sustenance. By establishing Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) and undergoing External Quality Assurance process it’s possible to continuously strive for excellence. The monitoring and evaluation of the institutional processes and systems require a well-structured approach for internal and external review. The NAAC expects the Institutions to undertake AAAperpetually. This audit process is vital for achieving academic excellence in HEIs. Academic and administrative practices are interrelated concepts. Thus in order to achieve this objective, there is required to be a strong administrative will.

Academic audit can be understood as a scientific and systematic method of reviewing the quality of academic process in the institution. It is related with the quality assurance and enhancing the quality of academic activities in HEIs. On the other hand administrative audit refers to process of evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of the administrative procedures. It includes assessment of policies, strategies and functions of the various administrative units, control of the overall administrative system, etc. reads the concept note.

The main objective of AAA isto understand the existing system and assess the strengths and weaknesses of the academic departments/faculties and administrative units. Thus, to suggest the methods for improvement and for overcoming the weaknesses. Further, to identify the bottlenecks/limitations in the existing administrative mechanisms and to identify the opportunities for reforms with regard to academics, administration and examinations.  Therefore, to evaluate the optimum utilization of financial, physical and intellectual resources. To suggest the methods for continuous improvement of quality keeping in view criteria and reports by accreditation bodies.

It is relevant to say that World class Universities or institutions of eminence have not been built overnight. For that continuous Audit of Academicprocesses and Administrative procedures are being adopted. The AAA can be performed internally and externally as well. Internally it is carried out by the IQAC of the institutions, while externally it can be done by the affiliating University for its Colleges or by peer groups.

The aforesaid concept note further reads that the NAAC has not prescribed any specific methodology for conducting AAA. It is expected that each HEI may evolve its own methodology by learning from the best practices followed by leading institutions within and outside the country. The successful practices can be adapted to suit specific requirements of HEI on various aspects. IQAC of HEIs can decide set of criteria to be used for AAA. Some HEIs follow NAAC criteria as it compliments periodic assessment and accreditation by NAAC. Whereas, some HEIs have developed slightly different set of criteria. It is also learnt that some HEIs have taken NAAC departmental evaluation format and have done school/department-wise also. Some HEIs undertake the AAA exercise on annual basis; whereas, many prefer a cycle of threeor five years. Peer review is considered backbone of AAA similar to accreditation by NAAC. It is important to identify professional experts as peers for AAA. Even though no specific qualifications have been prescribed for these peer groups, it is vital that peers should be able to command respect from faculty on the basis of their credentials such as academic distinctions, experience as reviewers on accreditation bodies.

The outcome of AAA is expected to beplaced before IQAC, Governing Bodies (GB), Higher Education Department, and so on. Plan of action can be prepared to implement the suggestions accepted by IQAC and others. It is important that HEIs may formally prepare guidelines-statues-ordinances-regulations for AAA so that it becomes an institutionalised practice. As the facilitator of quality culture in higher education, the NAAC may promote any good practices of AAA brought to its attention. In the aforesaid backdrop the present article attempts to explore answers by different stake holders for a set of academic audit observations.

To what extent learners and teachers feel a change on the campus/class room after the process of implementation of NEP 3.O last year?What changes teachers have made while transacting course content in line with learning outcomes? To what extent learners have been empowered to actively participate in discussions and questioning? What steps have been initiated by the faculty to enrich teaching-learning process moving beyond rote memorization simply for qualifying examinations? To what extent scientific temper and critical thinking have been promoted among learners while engaging them in practical/practicum work?

How the assessment and evaluation has been different as compared to conventional system? What measures have been taken to account for co and sports activities for earning credits by the learners based on their participation in such activities?

What steps institution governance has initiated for infrastructure development required for the implementation of new policy? To what extent the institutions have been equipped by the HED with regard to physical and faculty requirements?

To what extent IQAC at intuition level is being strengthened by creating NEP 3.O Cell and academic and administrative audit cell? What steps HEIs have initiated to put the teaching-learning and assessment process subjected to academic audit? Has an institution been promoting employability of learners by engaging them in embedded /application oriented 21st century skills? How far HIE’s are able to develop workable linkages with industry?

Have autonomous colleges adopted different style of functioning after being DE affiliated from university system? If yes, how?Has Cluster University Srinagar been in a position to develop varsityculture in its premier constituent colleges? If not, why? Has Central University of Kashmir (CUK) put in serious efforts to perform a lead role as per its mandate in implementing NEP 3.Oat least with regard to student centric transaction of course content and 360 degree evaluation of student performance? If not, why?

In conclusion, comprehensive academic and administrative audit is to be put in practice periodically in order to ascertain the efficacy of policy implementation. NAAC has sponsored a good number of seminars across the country on the theme of AAA. However, no such workshop/seminar on the subject has been organised in J&K until now. The HEIs are expected to take benefit from deliberations of these seminars to update recent trends in AAA as a tool for continuous quality improvement. Finally, in the era of Chat GPT it is required to look beyond NEP 3.O.

This write-up is based on inputs from NAAC advisory note and interactions with other colleagues visiting different institutions as NAAC assessors. 

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.

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