The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) plays a vital role as an independent organization responsible for evaluating and granting accreditation to higher educational institutions in India. The Academic Bank of Credits (ABC) is a system that enables students to accumulate credits earned from multiple institutions and use them towards obtaining a degree or diploma.
In this article, we will discuss the relationship between NAAC accreditation and the Academic Bank of Credits, and the need for NAAC accreditation for the smooth execution of the ABC system.
In India as per the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP), HEI i.e. Higher education institutions are going to be classified as affiliated colleges, autonomous colleges, teaching universities, or research universities. This classification is not meant to imply higher or lower status, but rather to recognize the different roles and functions of HEIs.
Under this classification system, any HEI can be multidisciplinary in nature and can be teaching-intensive or research-intensive, or a combination of both. This recognizes that different institutions have different strengths and goals and that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to higher education.
Affiliated colleges are those that are affiliated to a larger university, and typically offer undergraduate programs in a range of disciplines. Autonomous colleges have greater administrative and academic autonomy and can design their own courses and assessment methods.
Teaching universities focus primarily on teaching, and offer a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Research universities, on the other hand, have a greater focus on research and offer a range of postgraduate and research programs.
In essence, the NEP 2020 strives to foster increased autonomy and adaptability in higher education, fostering a diverse and innovative academic landscape in India.
The ABC System
The ABC system is a credit transfer system that allows students to earn credits from multiple institutions and accumulate them towards obtaining a degree or diploma. The system aims to provide students with flexibility in choosing courses and institutions and encourages lifelong learning. The implementation of the ABC system in India is currently underway, led by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
The NAAC Accreditation
NAAC accreditation is a process that evaluates and assesses higher education institutions in India on various parameters such as infrastructure, teaching and learning, research and innovation, governance and leadership, and social responsibility.
The accreditation process is voluntary and provides institutions with a roadmap for quality improvement. The accreditation status is valid for a period of five years, and institutions are required to undergo re-accreditation at the end of the validity period.
The accreditation framework of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) in India underwent a significant overhaul, bringing about substantial reforms in its processes and procedures. The previous system followed a seven-criterion format with a four-point grading system i.e. A, B, C and D based on subjective evaluation by a peer team and self-study reports prepared by higher education institutions (HEIs).
However, with feedback from stakeholders and a need for a more objective, transparent, scalable, and reliable system, NAAC introduced the Revised Accreditation Framework (RAF) and a new grading system was introduced.
The RAF is a hybrid system that evaluates both qualitative and quantitative parameters. While the previous system had a 70% weightage for qualitative parameters and a 30% weightage for quantitative parameters, the new system reversed this, with a 70% weightage for quantitative parameters and a 30% weightage for qualitative parameters.
The Data Verification and Validation (DVV) system introduced by NAAC is based on quantitative parameters that are verified against documentary evidence provided by the HEIs.
The DVV system requires a lot of handholding and training for both insiders and outside stakeholders. NAAC provided video tutorials, toolkits, printed material, workshops, seminars, conferences, and training programs for assessors to help them understand and implement the new system effectively.
Despite carrying forward some salient features of the previous system, the RAF represents a significant departure from the previous approach and required substantial effort to implement.
Let’s explore the step-by-step process for HEIs to undergo NAAC accreditation.
The Relationship between NAAC Accreditation and the ABC System
NAAC accreditation is a prerequisite for institutions to participate in the ABC system. Only institutions that have obtained NAAC accreditation with a minimum grade of ‘A’ are eligible to participate in the ABC system. This requirement ensures that participating institutions meet certain quality standards and have the necessary infrastructure and resources to implement the ABC system.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) in India appointed a committee led by Prof. Bhushan Patwardhan with the aim of fostering collaboration and synergy among the key entities involved in higher education assessment and accreditation, namely the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), the National Board of Accreditation (NBA), and the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF).
The committee was assigned to suggest a common framework and a plan of action for the National Accreditation Council (NAC). Currently, the committee is headed by Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman of the Executive Committee NAAC.
In accordance with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, colleges will be progressively granted graded autonomy, with the ultimate goal of transitioning to a binary accreditation system in the future.
Accreditation will be based on fundamental norms, public self-disclosure, good governance, and outcomes, and will be carried out by an autonomous system of accrediting institutions overseen by NAC. NAC will also grant the license to operate as an accreditor to an appropriate number of institutions.
In the immediate term, it is imperative to establish a robust graded accreditation system that sets clear benchmarks for all higher education institutions (HEIs), enabling them to attain distinct levels of quality, self-governance, and autonomy.
Achieving this will require the establishment of clear standards and guidelines for accreditation and the creation of an independent and effective system of accrediting institutions. The goal of this process is to ensure that all HEIs in India meet basic quality standards and are capable of providing high-quality education to students.
Need for NAAC Accreditation for the Smooth Execution of the ABC System
NAAC accreditation is essential for the smooth execution of the ABC system for several reasons:
NAAC accreditation provides assurance to stakeholders, including students, employers, and the government, that participating institutions meet certain quality standards. This assurance is crucial for the success of the ABC system, as it ensures that the credits earned by students are of a certain quality and can be transferred across institutions.
NAAC accreditation ensures that participating institutions adhere to a set of standard guidelines and procedures. This standardization is essential for the successful implementation of the ABC system, as it ensures that the credit transfer process is streamlined and consistent across institutions.
The NAAC accreditation process provides institutions with a roadmap for quality improvement. This process encourages institutions to identify their strengths and weaknesses and implement measures to improve their quality standards. This improvement is crucial for the success of the ABC system, as it ensures that participating institutions are constantly striving to improve the quality of education they provide.
NAAC accreditation is recognized internationally, and institutions with NAAC accreditation are considered to be of high quality. This recognition is important for institutions that are looking to attract international students or collaborate with international institutions. The ABC system also enables Indian students to study abroad and earn credits that can be transferred back to India, making it important for institutions to have international recognition.
Technology-Driven Approach towards NAAC Accreditation:
The NAAC accreditation process is known for its complexity, involving seven criteria and numerous key indicators (KI). Compliance with NAAC’s criteria necessitates extensive data and reports spanning the past five years, as per the standard formats.
Generating such extensive reports within the given timeframe can be time-consuming for institutes. Additionally, the risk of receiving a grade below ‘A’ poses a potential exclusion from the ABC system.
To address these challenges, Splashgain Technology Pvt. Ltd. has developed Eklavvya- Process Automation Platform software. This advanced system supports institutes and universities in simplifying data management and report generation.
By leveraging the power of automation, we can transition from manual processes to a streamlined approach, empowering institutions to navigate the NAAC accreditation with ease.
The NAAC accreditation process poses challenges due to its complexity, involving multiple criteria and key indicators (KI). Generating extensive reports spanning five years in accordance with NAAC standards is time-consuming for institutes, while the risk of receiving a grade below ‘A’ jeopardizes their inclusion in the ABC system.
Splashgain Technology offers a solution with Eklavvya- Process Automation Platform NAAC software, simplifying data and report generation for institutes and universities.
Furthermore, it is important to recognize the interconnectedness between the Academic Bank of Credits (ABC) system and NAAC accreditation. Both frameworks play significant roles in shaping the educational landscape.
The integration of Eklavvya- Process Automation Platform NAAC software with the Learning Management System (LMS) creates a cohesive ecosystem, connecting the dots between academic credit recognition and the pursuit of accreditation excellence and will streamline the process of ABC.
This synergy ensures that institutions can effectively align their efforts and maximize the benefits derived from both systems.