The National Assessment and Accredition Council was established as an autonomous institution of the University Grants Commission back in 1994 with an objective to ensure the quality of education in higher education institutions. Ever since then, the NAAC team visit for inspection has been widely anticipated by higher education institutions and has given a clear and sophisticated data which aids in the distribution of funds from the UGC.
During the academic year 2018-19, the NAAC team visits were scheduled from July 2018 onwards. Obviously on the brighter side, the entire college or university works in unison to improve their grades and grade points. But on the downside, this act has become detrimental in many ways, altogether like merely a show put up by a five-year olds when the neighbours pay a visit. Of course ranks might have increased and so might have the funds. But the immense effort invested into the fear of evaluation has tired out teachers as well as students. Preparations for the D-day had begun an year or so ago. Since then, in many institutions classes were irregular. Here, teachers or the department heads, or not even the Principal are to be blamed. They are merely forced to perform clerical duties in the face of sudden pressures exerted by the demands for documenting each and everything. This has affected the otherwise beautiful flow of the teaching-learning process.
Besides this, the entire logic behind the NAAC accreditation and ranking system is confusing. On one hand, the NAAC team intends to evaluate and ensure that the basic facilities are proper in the institution. Say for instance, the NAAC team intends to evaluate the hostel facilities and the mess food of a particular institution. Like in most institutions, say the mess food is horrible despite the recurring complaints. However, on the day of the visit, the food might be cooked properly and the students might be asked to put on a show that they are enjoying it. But from the very next day, things might go back to what it used to be. Now, it is natural for a question like “Why did the students remain silent when the NAAC team visited?” may arise. Well, here lies the dilemma. If a student voices a complaint during the NAAC team visit, apart from the general hatred he or she might receive in the future from the institution, the grade point of his institution will be reduced, which would be reflected in his degree certificate that may in the long run, affect the quality of his qualification.
So in a sense, what this whole drama intends to do is to merely silence the student. In the cloak of assessment, it actually dampens the voice of the student community and adds one and a half years or more of stress to the faculty of the institution. It implies that we need a change in the system of evaluation. We need to revise the accreditation mechanism, for a better student and teacher community, for a better learning experience.