The draft white paper of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) has envisaged a national level test to assess student learning outcomes after they graduate. The test would help in assessing if higher educational institutions enable students to “acquire the capacity for higher-order cognition” in all Bachelor degree programmes, irrespective of specialisation and future career tracks.
A set of national level online courses has also been proposed so that students acquire the capacity for higher-order cognition.
“Regardless of the specialisation and career paths, we expect all individuals with Bachelor’s degrees to have certain forms of understanding, skills, abilities, and habits of mind, thereby defining the concept of educatedness as distinct from degrees and certificates. Thus, the purpose of education guides the conceptualisation of educatedness. General Education would then be the curriculum that aims at educatedness,” the paper states.
The 100-page document has included opinion surveys from HEIs on the new method and the old system. Around 40 experts from across the country have reviewed the draft. In a two-day session on April 27-28 in Bengaluru, the NAAC discussed the 40 th draft.
Outcomes for accreditation
Accreditation of HEIs will be based on outcomes instead of relying on inputs, provided by the institutions. Real-time data; stakeholder satisfaction survey; function-based, and learning-based outcomes will be used for accreditation instead of the current system of relying on information from the institutions, their quality assurance report, self-assessment report and peer team’s visit. According to the paper, the shift would reflect the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020’s requirements of HEIs.
The principal authors of the document are Bhushan Patwardhan and K.P. Mohanan. It has been co-authored by 12 other educationists, and peer-reviewed by dozens of other educators, including AICTE chairman, former NAAC and AIU officials, among others.
The level of knowledge and skills acquired by students would be viewed as outcomes. The proposed benchmark parameters include assessing professional skills; career progression; alumni feedback.
For this purpose institutions will be categorised as affiliated colleges; autonomous colleges; teaching university; and research university. The categorisation would include institutions of professional education, traditional knowledge systems and vocational training institutes.
The draft recommends that institutions align the assessment and accreditation system with the NEP 2020 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030.
Some educators have picked on a certain clause 2.1.3 in the white paper, which gives an example of teaching a student the idea that earth is round and not flat. The paper says such teaching “is problematic, because that form of teaching results in the transferring of the teachers’ beliefs to the learners. This is a form of indoctrination, and hence against the spirit of 51A(h) of the Indian constitution. Teaching ought to provide information and understanding, not indoctrinate learners.”