Big Question: Can I ignore NBA accreditation of my College Programs?
Clear Answer: NO, Sir, AICTE has laid down strict regulations in its “AICTE Approval Process Handbook – 2019-20” for the institutes of technical professional education, including Engineering, MBA/PGDM/Pharmacy/HM etc. It hasn’t let any option for an institute to wriggle out of NBA even if NAAC graded. Some of the most critical regulatory measures:-
1. All institutes with technical professional programs shall have to get their 60% programs NBA accredited in the next 4 years, or else these colleges won’t be eligible to renew their annual approvals by the AICTE which otherwise means, a de-recognition and closure of a college( Authority :-clause 2.6.1). Hence, there is no escape at least for the affiliated colleges who need annual approval for their survival.
2. Increase in current intake or additional program is possible only if the program is NBA accredited (Authority: Clause 2.7.1 and 2.7.3)
3. Institute can’t start a Fellowship program without getting NBA accredited and without explicit permission of the AICTE (Authority: Clause 2.15)
4. Running a twinning program with a foreign institute to take the credibility to the next level is possible only if program is NBA accredited (Authority: Clause 3.2 (c)
5. NBA of the program is essential to introduce seats for foreign nationals/children of NRI (Authority: Clause 2.16)
6. If more than 50% programs are NBA accredited, an institute doesn’t have to go for a typical annual renewal process of programs from AICTE, till such time NBA remains valid (Authority clause 2.6.1)
In addition to the above, NBA accreditation of program makes significant difference to the credibility of the program/institute as under:
1. A six-year accreditation with a score above 750 marks out of 1000 is as good as 3.51 CGPA in NAAC and makes institutes automatically eligible for autonomy.
2. A six-year accreditation is a big enabler of securing funds from the funding agencies for the research.
3. A large number of institutes abroad are requiring students to have done their UG program in NBA accredited degree as a condition for pursuing post graduation.
4. A long-term step for making inroads into an ‘institute of eminence’ and to crack into top NIRF ranking.
Applying for the NBA Process Explained Briefly
• Check, if program is meeting the pre-qualifiers laid down on NBA website.
• Apply online, get temporary application Id. Fill up pre-requisites, pay 10% of fee within 30 days of generation of id.
• Result “approved” would be intimated to the institute on a mail.
• From the date of approval, submit SAR online within 60 days and pay 90% of balance of fee.
• Be prepared for the Peer team visit. It has 100 percent assessment marks in the team’s hands.
What must start today itself?
A few key aspects require a long time to build competency and capacity and hence institute must take immediate action to get the ball rolling through the IQAC of the institute, and set a tracker to monitor monthly progress on the following:
1. Build academic research competency by allocating 2 research papers to each faculty (one per semester) in every year, in addition to guiding scholars. Factor it in faculty performance appraisal. It carries 75 marks.
2. Hire budding researchers, actively respond to calls for proposals in India and abroad, pro-actively apply and reach-out to various research funding/ sponsoring agencies and industries for funding research projects. Funding must commensurate with the level specified in the SAR befitting at least 60% of max benchmarked figures. Set up research groups, and initiate sound proposals on war- footing. It carries 25 marks.
3. Reach-out to the industry and offer consultancy, and muster consultancy funds to at least 60% of max benchmarked figures. Industry connect which includes other aspects as well, carries 90 marks.
4. All faculty to prepare their own case studies (minimum 2 per faculty) and 20 minutes video lectures (minimum 2 per faculty) in every semester. It carries 30 marks.
5. Forge at least two working MoUs every academic year with international institutes in the next one year with students’ and faculty exchange/participation (research collaboration) deliverables. International connect carries 40 marks.
6. Enhance your Alumni engagement many notches up, prepare exclusive enabling groups and hold periodic meetings. Record outcomes. This criteria in NBA is heavily weighted with 50 marks.
7. Immerse your programs into ‘outcome-based education system’ with proper assessment and evaluation system, reflecting on attainments of POs and PEOs, as well as improvement of program curriculum, in its totality. Simply making PEOS, POs and COs and its mapping comprises barely 5% of the entire OBE system. 95% is in assessment and evaluation and carrying out necessary reforms in curriculum and delivery of courses as a result of COs and POs attainments. It carries nearly 180 marks.
8. Get a faculty student ratio of 1:15 and cadre ratio of 1:2:6 as an average of current and past 2 years. It carries 30 marks. 1:15 faculty students ratio is also mandatory for full 6 years accreditation and 1:20 for 3 years accreditation.
Step-wise Roadmap Recommendations
Step: 1: Hold a 3-day FDP on OBE system to immerse institute fully into ‘outcome-based education’, extremely important for the NBA. It may be held in the month of Jun/July 2019 when faculty are often free (spare those on holidays). Moreover, there is no option but to start an OBE system for the purpose of assessment and evaluation right at the very beginning of a fresh batch. POs attainment is not feasible in introducing OBE in mid-session.
Step:2 : Hold monthly, instead of quarterly IQAC meeting on the set agenda, set a monthly tracker of what must be attained by faculty every semester and monitor progress on each criterion, monthly. Maintain a record of the ‘Minutes of Meetings. Preferably get STEMVOGEL’s enterprise ‘Accreditation Edge’ Principal consultant to attend IQAC, as an industry cum academic expert to provide complete clarity on each criterion and monitor progress.
Step: 3: Utilize full academic year in building competency and capacity needed for the accreditation objectives. Attainments of each faculty on essentials of tracker system be cobbled with the appraisal system to inspire and reward performing faculty.
Step: 4: Carryout a 2-day Academic Audit to know the gaps in fitness after a draft SAR is ready. Apply for NBA preferably in August to cover a previous full year as CAY.
Step: 5: At any stage, if felt that full two-year’s whole-hearted endeavor is required to attain 6-year accreditation, application may then be accordingly delayed. It is always good to go for 2-day Mock Inspection prior to the Peer team visit to remove last moment deficiencies and build confidence in facing the team
NAAC accreditation alone won’t help in granting annual AICTE renewals to the affiliated technical professional education colleges from the mandatory requirement of a NBA accreditation. This being a realty staring at the institutes, it would therefore be advisable for all Engineering, MBA/PGDM/HM institutes to begin preparations, without losing any further time and go far 2 to 3 programs meeting pre-qualifiers at the earliest.