Vikash Sharma

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has released a report of the Overarching Committee, constituted by the Ministry of Education, for transformative reforms for strengthening the assessment and accreditation of Higher Education Institutions in India (HEIs).

The Overarching Committee was constituted to propose actionable recommendations to strengthen the accreditation processes by NAAC, NBA, and the ranking system by NIRF. The Committee was also asked to recommend how more institutions would come into the fold of accreditation and to prepare a roadmap for aligning NAAC, NBA, and NIRF to the proposed NAC in HECI.

The proposed reforms include:

The transition from the present 8-point grading system of NAAC to an adapted Binary Accreditation System. Encourage Accredited Institutions to raise their bar, evolve in-depth or in-breadth in disciplines from ‘Level 1’ to ‘Level 4’ Institutions of National Excellence, and then to ‘Level-5’ i.e. Institutions of Global Excellence for Multi-Disciplinary Research and Education.

Enable a Choice-based Ranking System for diverse stakeholders (students, funding agencies, industries, etc.)

Amalgamate Programme-Accreditation and Institutional-Accreditation, considering their inter-dependency; and evolve a Composite Assessment System.

Simplify the accreditation process, especially for the first cycle, and bring down periodicity for Re-accreditation to six years. Existing stipulations for annual re-approvals (by AICTE for technical educational programmes) may be eliminated, if the scope of the programme does not alter significantly.

Include all HEIs and every programme in the newly proposed assessment and 7 accreditation system with due regard for their statutory dispensations (e.g. IITs)

Develop a ‘Unified Elicitation Tool’ to collect the superset of data from HEIs for varied purposes (of approval, accreditation, ranking) with an in-built design for collateral cross-checking to check the authenticity of data and in conjunction with it, introduce maximally the technology-driven modern systems, to replace the existing manual/hybrid systems of assessment and accreditation thereby minimising subjectivity and enhancing transparency and credibility.

The ‘One Nation One Data Platform’ may be upgraded to a robust architecture to provide adequate access control and security features among other aspects.