Better than the best ? NAAC Quality Deviations Under Lens

NEW DELHI: A reputable university in Bhubaneshwar has propelled the distinguished Indian Institute of Science to the post in terms of its National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) score. It now beats not only the venerable University of Bengaluru but also all other institutions in the country, having achieved the highest score of 3.88, the best ever awarded to an institute of higher learning.
Following closely is another “Beacon of Excellence”. An engineering college in Bengaluru recently earned a 3.83 rating from the NAAC. Interestingly, it is not ranked among the top institutes in India on the FRNI (National Institute Ranking Framework), where it is in the 175-200 range.
For the record, the Indian government’s NIRF 2022 ranking places the IISc (NAAC score: 3.67) as the best Indian university. But seven institutes, all private, currently have an NAAC score above India’s top university.
These are not isolated cases. A reputable university in Coimbatore recently jumped five grades in five years; between the two NAAC cycles, the college that had previously been awarded grade B saw its rating reach the highest level of A++.
The extraordinary inflation of university grades across India is now being questioned by academics across the country, as well as internally within the NAAC, which has set up a committee to understand what has made climbing the scores of so many Indian tertiary institutions.
Data from the accreditation agency reveals that the country has never had so many institutes awarded the glorious A++ rating as it does today.
Chairman of NAAC Executive Committee, Bhushan Patwardhan, said an audit was currently underway. “We understand that there are some discrepancies and that the current system needs to be reviewed and improved,” Patwardhan said.
President of UGC Jagdeesh Kumar agreed when he said YOU“As part of the National Education Policy, under one of the verticals, we are looking at how we can synergize between NAAC, NIRF and the NBA (National Board of Accreditation). Under this, we We will also look into all sorts of complaints and anomalies.
About a month ago, the NAAC withheld the ranking result of MS University Baroda, after receiving an anonymous tip alleging that university authorities had tried to influence the peer review team with gold, silver and other favors. However, the NAAC later released the improved rating, calling the claims “false”, consistent with its findings.
According to the NEP, the National Accreditation Council will bring global unity between accreditation and grading agencies.
A white paper authored by Patwardhan stated that instead of graduated accreditation of higher education institutes, their binary accreditation and graduated accreditation of academic programs/constituent units will be the replacement. Assessment and accreditation will focus on learning outcomes and not on inputs provided by colleges or universities.

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