Taking consultancy services for the NAAC and NBA accreditation from some of the top NAAC consultants in India, is an undoubtedly a fruitful enabling step. Even NAAC has now realized that institutes do require a hand-holding, and has thus advertised to recruit ‘education consultants’ to mentor institutes. In developed countries too, accrediting agencies make it compulsory for accreditation-seeking institutes to obtain guidance of their Chairs, Mentors and Consultants.
What makes a NAAC or NBA consultant truly credible? How do you find an ideal NAAC or NBA Consultant for your institute? How do you trust his abilities before calling him to visit you? Will you trust an expert based on his profile on the website? How much should you pay? What should be an ideal time schedule of a consultancy? These are some of the questions which haunt nearly every institute. Here is an answer to these questions:
1. Multi-disciplinary Knowledge and Competence. Often institutes have multi-disciplinary programs to be put up for NAAC and NBA assessment. A generalist won’t meet the requirement. Multi-disciplinary institutes should look out for a consultant who is both an engineer and management expert. It may be a better idea to call a team of two having management and Engineering expertise. Similarly, a substantially medical, pharmacy and nursing institutes should engage the subject experts for an effective mentoring.
2. Experience of global best practices in the related domains. An expert should be a globally well-travelled person with practical experience of myriad practices implemented by some of the leading universities and colleges of the world. He must be able to relate global accreditation practices to Indian conditions. If an expert has an industry working experience in the emerging technology and management fields, it would prove all the more useful to the institutes.
3. Reliable and trustworthy. A reliable and trustworthy consultant is very essential. He should sincerely build systems and processes to reflect upon institute’s long-term benefits. If a consultant ends up only teaching what is right and doesn’t indulge himself in hand-holding, he would end up doing only a lip service. Institutes should be able to repose trust in him and open up their true status on every issue including finance, faculty etc. to enable a definite value-addition. He should maintain confidentiality of all information at all cost and forever.
4. A flair for professional written communication. A lot of accreditation work is related to write-ups on the systems, processes and practices. A number of policies and operating procedures are required to be written. A good consultant should be a good copy writer and able to edit/write a highly professional content in the SAR/SSR.
5. Inspirer. Faculty play a big role in driving various academic and research processes and initiatives. The need inspiration. It is often felt that faculty of most institutes pay much better focused attention to an outside expert and obeys him far more compellingly than perhaps their own internal seniors. If you are looking to go for the best NAAC/NBA consultant in India, do exercise your judgment on the ability of the expert who can take up a gauntlet of inspiring the faculty and undertake complex reforms like Outcome-based education system.
The moot question however, still remains on how to make a fair judgment on the suitability of a consultant before you hire him. It is recommended that institutes should make a good desk research and then shortlist a consultant to deliver one-day workshop or carry out an audit of institute’s current status. The IQAC and Steering Committee must unhesitatingly ask questions and make a fair judgment on the ability or potential of the expert.
A good consultant has a fee for 5 to 6 hours of daily commitment, ranging from INR 15 K to 25 K depending on the ability of the consultant. It is worth going for a consultant for a period, not less than 10-day visits with suitable intervals after every one/two visits to ensure that the recommendations made by the consultant in each meeting are implemented to the hilt and put up to the consultant for re-examination.
By Prof JR Sharma
Consultant is the Managing Director of ‘Accreditation-Edge’, India’s top accreditation private firm and is globally known and recognized for his consultancy and mentoring of institutes.