A look at NAAC’s evaluation criteria
India is one of the largest higher educational systems in the world, having more than 400 universities, 18,000 colleges and an enrolment of 11 million students.
The present enrolment is eight per cent which is low compared with to the world average of 23 per cent. The 11th Five Year Plan aims at raising it to 15 per cent at the end of the Plan.
Today we are in the era of quality and excellence. Educational institutions are voluntarily assessing their quality through the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and are proudly exhibiting their accreditation status. NAAC has redesigned its methodology in the changing higher education scenario.
The new methodology came into effect from April 1, 2007. It is on the lines of the internationally accepted system i.e. the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA). It is applicable for accreditation, re-assessment and re-accreditation of HEIs.
What is CGPA?
The CGPA refers to the weighted mean value of all the grade points earned by the institution for its quality parameters. The instrument for assessment and accreditation has been designed with seven criteria as quality parameters with criterion-wise key aspects. There are 36 key aspects and each is further differentiated into assessment indicators to be used as guidelines/probes by assessors to capture the micro-level quality pointers.
The key aspects under each criterion have their own weightages according to the relative importance of the said key aspect in the context of the type of institution. There are specified differential weightages according to the type of institution (university, autonomous college, affiliated/constituent colleges).
For the key aspect under a criterion based on the assessment indicators, quality points are assigned to a specific letter grade i.e. 4 for A; 3 for B; 2 for C and 1 for D. e.g: for curriculum design and development, the weightage is 50 and the key aspect grade is B i.e. 3 points. Then the key aspect grade point average is 50 x 3 = 150 total grade points.
The summarised total grade points of all the key aspects under each criterion will be calculated with appropriate weightages based on the above points.
The summary of all these weighted scores is divided by the total weightage i.e. 1000, the sum obtained will be the final institutional quality level on a four point scale.
The new methodology modified the nomenclature of the VI Criteria as Grievance & leadership, Criteria VII as Innovative Practices.
It introduced differential weightages for different type of institutions. More weightage (45 per cent) was given to affiliated college on teaching-learning evaluation and research, consultancy and extension by university (20 per cent).
The best practices in each criteria is included in all the first six criterions. Qualitative measurements are converted to grade points. The relative evaluation would be more exact, due to reductions in variations and standard deviations.
NAAC has planned to complete the first cycle of assessment of HEIs by the end of 11th Plan. It is a challenging task requiring a good number of peers as assessors.
It must take into consideration the founding and development of the institution, as well as the geographical area i.e. whether the college is situated in a rural or urban area.
A monitoring body can be set up to ensure the running of institutions according to the given criteria.
(The author is Lecturer, Department of Commerce, R.T.E.S. Arts, Science and Commerce College