Dr.Jawahar Lal Sen
National assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) is an autonomous institution constituted by the University Grants Commission (India)‘To make quality the defining element of higher education in India through a combination of self and external quality evaluation,promotion and sustenance initiatives’.
The revised guidelines for the creation of the Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) contains following expressed mission of NAAC with a view to achieving the above mentioned ‘Vision’.
k To arrange for periodic assessment and accreditation ofinstitutions of higher education or units thereof, or specificacademic programmes or projects;
k To stimulate the academic environment for promotion of qualityof teaching-learning and research in higher educationinstitutions;
k To encourage self-evaluation, accountability, autonomy andinnovations in higher education;
k To undertake quality-related research studies, consultancy andtraining programmes, and
k To collaborate with other stakeholders of higher education forquality evaluation, promotion and sustenance.’
The basic purpose and the tasks of the IQAC had also been defined in the revised guidelines as quoted below
‘The basic purposes of the IQAC are:
a) To ensure continuous improvement in the entire operations of theinstitution, and
b) To assure stakeholders connected with higher education – namely, students,
parents, teachers, staff, would-be employers, funding agencies and society
in general – of the accountability of the institution for its own quality and probity.
The IQAC will evolve mechanisms and procedures for ensuring the
a) Timely, efficient and progressive performance of academic, administrative
and financial tasks.
b) The relevance and quality of academic and research programmes.
c) Equitable access to and affordability of academic programmes for various
sections of society.
d) Optimization and integration of modern methods of teaching and learning.
e) The credibility of evaluation procedures.
f) The adequacy, maintenance and proper allocation of support structure and
g) Research sharing and networking with other institutions in India and
The NAAC has also discussed at length the composition of IQAC, operational features of the IQAC and the functions of the IQAC. These had been done in very clear language, without any ambiguity and with professional acumen. We also believe that if those operational features and functions are translated into practice, no force on the earth will be able to retard the growth of higher education in India.
So far so good. But the only important question is for whom all these exercises are being undertaken? Which is the target group? The answer is plain and simple – Students.
Students belong to various categories, namely, college students, university students, students of medical colleges, technical institutes, students belonging to management studies and similar other various branches. The problems of each category requires specialized attention as each category has got its own issues, own problems and hence there cannot be any common policy prescription for all.
Even the problems of colleges and universities working with the same type of students are widely different, a fact which have been overlooked by UGC and NAAC in a most unfortunate manner. The eminent persons at top level of UGC and NAAC could not do justice to their eminence in this regard. We will however concentrate on NAAC for the time being and will show the shortcomings of UGC on some other occasion.
Let us go directly to the Part B of the Annual Quality Assurance Report (AQAR) of IQAC.
2. New academic programmes initiated (UG and PG):
Can affiliated colleges initiate new programmes ? No they cannot. It is the absolute jurisdiction of the affiliating University. The NAAC authority may have their own explanations but poor Principals do not have any answer.
3. Innovations in curricular design and transaction:
Innovations in curricular design etc can be done in universities as the various departments enjoy some sorts of autonomy. But NAAC has included this ‘key result area’ in the AQAR for colleges also!
4. Inter-disciplinary programmes started:
5. Examination reforms implemented:
The NAAC authorities are well aware about the fact that these two areas are also outside the jurisdiction of general colleges. Still now large number of colleges are following the annual examination pattern. It is not even easy on the part of those affiliated general colleges following semester system to implement examination reform or initiation of inter-disciplinary programmes, unless and until any such initiative is adopted by the affiliating university.
6. Candidates qualified: NET/SLET/GATE etc.
How this is going to improve the quality of teaching in the college ? Most probably the target group of NAAC here is those teachers who had been appointed violating the prescribed UGC norms and if it is so we must say that this is most confusing.
8. Total number of seminars/workshops conducted:
9. Research projects a) Newly implemented:
10. Patents generated, if any:
Is not funny to expect a general college to generate patents ? This may be expected from some highly specialised institutions but cannot be or should not be marked as a so called ‘KEY RESULT AREA’ for general degree colleges.
Seminars and workshops simply spoil or consume valuable class periods which could otherwise have been used for teaching learning and evaluation exercises .The college students lose their valuable class periods for allowing their teachers time for preparation of their research papers from which except the teacher-author none other is benefited. In the similar way the research projects may help the teachers in achieving higher grade with better pay packet but the students, for whom he/she is appointed will be grossly deprived from his legitimate due that is regular teaching. During my tenure as Principal in our college 60% of the faculty members obtained either Ph.D, or M.Phil and almost cent per cent attended seminars. But that has not been reflected in the so called quality assurance or overall performances of the students. Can a Ph.D holder with a third division at the entry level of higher education and 55% marks in Masters Degree be a better teacher than a simple M.A./M.Sc/M.Com candidate who secured first class throughout his academic career ?
During my university days none of my teachers, except one was Ph.D holder. But as a student I could not notice any difference in their capability of teaching. In my case also, I cannot claim that I had been transformed into a better teacher after obtaining Ph.D. in nineties. Atleast my English remained equally bad, knowledge of economics required for teaching in under graduate classes also did not get richer.
11. New collaborative research programmes
12. Research grants received from various agencies:
13. Details of research scholars:
14. Citation index of faculty members and impact factor:
Let Lord Infant Jesus save innocent undergraduate students. Is there anyone outside NAAC or UGC who will be able to establish a link between these four Key Areas and teaching in undergraduate classes ? All such research activities will be futile exercises if these are not undertaken for the entry level tender aged under graduate students. The educational environment of general colleges and universities differ widely.This simple fact should be understood by the NAAC authority.
There are 41 such key areas and the institution will be assessed on the basis of its performance in these areas. In our opinion except
‘22. New books/journals subscribed and their value:
23. Courses in which student assessment of teachers is introduced and
the action taken on student feedback:
25. Computerization of administration and the process of admissions 26. Increase in the infrastructural facilities:
27. Technology upgradation:
28. Computer and internet access and training to teachers and students:
29. Financial aid to students:
30. Activities and support from the Alumni Association:
31 Activities and support from the Parent-Teacher Association:
32. Health services:
33. Performance in sports activities:
34. Incentives to outstanding sportspersons:
35. Student achievements and awards:
36. Activities of the Guidance and Counselling unit:’
No other so called key areas are going to benefit the students. These benefits are also mostly indirect. The NAAC authority should understand that all students are not brilliant students-some students are brilliant. The KEY AREA should be development of less brilliant students.
We would , therefore urge upon NAAC authority to look into the matter immediately and formulate different assessment criterion for under graduate general colleges giving topmost priority to diversified socio-economic setup of the country . The basic point is Universities are situated in developed areas with various facilities whereas most of the colleges are situated in less privileged underdeveloped areas. Under graduate colleges should be treated as under graduate college and therefore specialised mechanism should be evolved for the benefit of the students of under graduate colleges. The NAAC should pave the way for not only infrastructure but also human resource development