The revised National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) methodology for grading educational institutions draws attention of colleges to hitherto neglected areas such as energy efficiency, water conservation and harvesting, gender neutrality and institutional social responsibility.

Elaborating on the revised manual and guidelines at a workshop organised by M.S. Ramaiah College of Arts Science and Commerce (MSRCAS) on Tuesday, H.A. Ranganath, director, NAAC, said, “Accreditation is not all about faultfinding or policing. It is more about introspection.” The revised methodology came into effect in 2012.

Addressing a gathering of teachers, students and parents, Prof. Ranganath, emphasised on the importance of the Internal Quality Assurance Cells (IQAC) set up by various NAAC-accredited colleges. He said, “The IQAC must be an active and independent body. Most colleges gear up only when the accreditation is due. But the IQAC can serve as a body that will annually conduct audits to ensure that the institute maintains good standards until the next accreditation visit.”

He suggested that the IQAC be made a statutory body like the academic council and its recommendations be taken seriously by the management/trust or the university.

So far, 3,000 of the about 5,000 NAAC-accredited college have functional IQACs.

On areas where colleges often fail to meet minimum standards, he said, “Faculty profile is often neglected. Many just make do with guest lecturers... This aspect has to be reviewed and improved upon. Also, colleges have failed to retain students after college hours. Scholarly activities beyond college hours must be encouraged.”

Prof. Ranganath listed out various amendments made to the accreditation methodology and interacted with IQAC chairpersons from 80 colleges across India at the NAAC-sponsored workshop.

Sakuntala Samuelson, principal, MSRCAS, said the workshop was aimed at informing the stakeholders about the revised methodology and taking stock of the weaknesses and challenges before the colleges in view of the new guidelines.

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