Currently, Himachal Pradesh has 37 NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) certified colleges, out of which none of them has acquired Garde A. NAAC gives Grade A to colleges according to the facilities that are being provided to students.
As per city reporter Shimla, out of 37 higher education colleges in Himachal, sadly none of them are Grade A. In 2020, seven new colleges in the state have become eligible to apply for NAAC along with ten such colleges who are waiting for an assessment for the second time. However, there are twelve such colleges who are eligible but haven’t applied yet.
The process of assessment of higher education institutions is carried out by NAAC once in every five years. Colleges are scored on the basis of amenities for students, infrastructure, smart study solutions, ITC labs, etc. that they provide. While the online registration process of applying for NAAC has been opened for colleges and other teaching institutions until September 15, the education department has prepared a list in which all the colleges who are not applying for NAAC accreditation has been mentioned.
A few years back, around 37 colleges of the Himachal Pradesh had applied to NAAC, sadly, all of them secured Grade B. Another, 63 new degree colleges in Himachal are not even eligible to apply for NAAC.
What is NAAC?
NAAC or National Assessment and Accreditation Council is an autonomous body of the University Grants Commission (UGC) set up by the Government of India in 1994. NAAC’s objective is to assess and accredit all Higher Education Institutions (HEI) including universities and Deemed-to-be universities across India. This accreditation is mandatory with a minimum ‘B’ Grade in order to get funds from the UGC for academic and research programs. The process is conducted once in every five years in two windows, from June-July (last date September 15) and November- December.
The Vision of NAAC is to “Make quality the defining element of higher education in India through a combination of self and external quality evaluation, promotion and sustenance initiatives”.
Who can apply for NAAC?
All universities of Central, State, Private and Deemed-to-be institutions that have their campuses inside the country and are of national importance are eligible to proceed with the Assessment & Accreditation (A&A) process of NAAC. All the institutes that are affiliated to, a constituent of, or is recognized by autonomous colleges or universities can apply for the A&A process. Also, the school, department or center of the university is eligible for NAAC Accreditation.
How are HEIs assessed and accredited
NAAC is known for its transparency in measuring institutes for their quality. The Assessment and Accreditation (A&A) include well-strategized quality initiatives, quality sustenance, and quality enhancement measures. The different criteria for the assessment of Higher Education Institutes include:
- The Curricular Aspect
- Evaluation, Teaching & Learning
- Consultancy, research, and extension
- Infrastructural model and learning resources
- The facility of Student support and progression
- Leadership, Governance, and Management of the HEI
- The Institutional values and their best practices
All these categories have different weightage (decided by NAAC) and HEIs are scored for each of them. A peer team of NAAC visits the institute or college in order to monitor and evaluate the institution’s functioning.
A qualitative and quantitative report is prepared based on the visit, 7 criteria, cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of the obtained scores, Letter Grade, and a performance Descriptor. The higher the score the better the grading. Based on the obtained scores, letter grades, namely A++, A+, A, B++, B+, B, C, and D, are provided to the institutes.
Universities, colleges or institutes with “A” grades are said to be imparting outstanding quality standards in terms of academics, facilities, and development of prospective students.
Astonishingly, there is not one HEI in Himachal Pradesh with an ‘A’ Grade certificate. However, the verification process of around 18 government colleges, including those of Bangana, Dehri, Chamba, Bhoranj, etc. have been completed, and the colleges are waiting for their grades.