New NAAC chief plans to adopt best global practices

Staff crunch a challenge in assessing large number of institutions: D P Singh

Assessing thousands of higher education institutions across the country for academic standards is arduous. Ensuring quality in these assessments is no easy task either. D P Singh, the new director of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), has several plans up his sleeve to meet this challenge.

Singh, one of the senior most academicians in the country who has served as vice-chancellor for three universities, took charge last week. He has already begun charting measures to revamp the Council. To meet international standards in grading educational institutions for academic quality, the Council is looking into parameters adopted by various accreditation agencies across the globe. A nationwide consultation is in the offing this year, to discuss strategies for increasing the efficiency of NAAC.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, he said, “Each country has its own accreditation agencies. We have to find out how they are doing and plan to adopt the best practices from them.” For bringing Indian institutions on a par with the best universities internationally, the Council had to relook at the assessment tools, he said. Global ranking systems look for aspects related to global participation, international students and international faculty in an institute.

Our institutions could begin by hiring adjunct faculty, going in for joint research projects with universities from other countries and making use of the several international chairs. “We have to take this up in a thoughtful and strategic manner,” Singh said.

 NAAC regional centres

One of the persistent problems that NAAC has had to deal with is the sheer number of institutions across the country taken up for assessment. Adversely, there has been a staff crunch. Strengthening human resources is among the top priorities of the director. He aims to increase the number of assessors to enhance the quality of assessment.

“We have to strengthen the human resources. We also need to create regional centres of NAAC. We need to have a large number of assessors and have to involve the faculty of higher education in various institutions. The number of advisors are also limited at present,” he said. These assessors would all require training and he would write to vice-chancellors of different universities seeking their support in this regard, Singh said.

Further, as per government regulations, each and every institution has to be assessed for accreditation. The University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) have linked accreditation with funding. The MHRD has decided to grant Rs 20 crore for ‘A’ grade universities, Rs 10 crore for ‘B’ Grade and Rs 5 crore for ‘C’ Grade universities. “This is a good incentive for universities to go through grading,” he observed.  

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