Acting on several complaints of irregularities in the visit of peer teams of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) for grading of colleges, the body established by the University Grants Commission (UGC) has informed all institutions that video-recording should be done for all NAAC visits starting from the first interaction till the last visit.
“Institution needs to submit the CD, DVD or pen drive to NAAC immediately after the completion of the peer team visit,” reads the letter from NAAC director D P Singh.
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Since October 2010, undergoing assessment and accreditation from NAAC is mandatory for arts, science, commerce and recognised colleges all over the country. However several reports of irregularities in NAAC visits have been reported in the past like bribing of officials for favourable reports, faking by colleges by bringing in ad-hoc staff and faking report on facilities and even complaints from colleges of unfair marking by peer teams.
Most educationists welcomed the move which would bring more transparency in the process.
Wasudeo Gade, vice-chancellor of Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) who is also a member of NAAC executive committee, said that usually colleges complain of unfair grading during the process which could be ruled out if video-recordings were available” “Sometimes if a college gets a lower grade, they complain against the peer team also saying that they wrote prejudiced report. They claim that certain facilities were available and they were even shown to peer teams but marked as absent. Usually, when such claims come in, we have no proof that the colleges didn’t have or didn’t show it to peer teams and hence this move will come in hand”,” said Gade.
The process of NAAC accreditation takes place once in five years and all UGC-recognised colleges have to submit a self-study report (SSR) which is reviewed by a peer team from NAAC on the basis of which the final grade is given to the college.
College principals say that while the earlier directive was to ensure minimal interaction with NAAC team and no recordings, the new measure will bring some relief.
“I was happy to know of the change because what happens is that sometimes, as colleges, we have expectations of a certain score and might miss it for just one or two points. When we see the report, we realise that we have been marked unfairly and if we have video-recording, we can argue for that point and get better grades. On other hand, sometimes we see that colleges who have no facilities and no improvement get A grade and we suspect foul play. We keep hearing stories about colleges faking number of faculty and even facilities and if any such malpractices, they will be weeded out,” said Manohar Chaskar, principal of Baburao Gholap College.