Most credible accreditation bodies of the world like ABET, AACSB and others require institutes applying for accreditation to compulsorily utilize the services of their mentors/chairs who guide them in fulfillment of their accreditation goals. In India, it is just the opposite. Here, mentoring is often taken as a weakness. Nonetheless, when an institute lands up in a deep trouble with poor C or B grade, it invariable turns up to a leading accreditation consultant to sail it through, the next time. Be known, all consultants boasting of credibility might not be able to effectively guide an institute. So, how do you evaluate the true worth of so called, top NAAC consultant or top NBA consultant in India? Here are a few tips:
1. Go for the proven credentials: Make an organic Google search and call up a couple of top NAAC or NBA consultants (as per institute’s craving for accreditation) to answer your precise queries, and thus fathom, the depth of their knowledge and understanding of the entire system. If convinced and shortlisted, call up a senior person of the institute, already guided by the consultant for a credibility-check.
2. Find out the academic credentials/research interests: It is very important that a consultant is well- versed with the relevant disciplines of the institute. He should have thorough knowledge and experience in global-best-practices in curriculum, planning, design and delivery using ICT. Read, the profile carefully, particularly the experience and years of standing.
3. Study of the Website: Look for two things, in particular; the depth of knowledge by reading the blogs written by the consultant on his/her website and the feedback of faculty of institutes on various workshops and consultancy sessions delivered by the consultant.
4. Standing of the Institute guided: If a consultant has guided a few eminent institutes of national standing, it quite obviously reflects upon the validity of credentials.
5. Get Academic Audit done: Before engaging a consultant for sustained duration, call him/her to undertake 2-day audit of the institute. Since an audit encompasses all criteria of the system threadbare, the true competence of the consultant would be revealed. Take a call for onward long-term engagement, only if satisfied.
6. Outcome-based-education expert: NAAC accreditation has 40 marks for the system. NBA has over 250 marks in each program. A consultant who doesn’t have complete know-how of an ‘assessment and evaluation’ of an outcome-based system and the nuisances of its implementation by an institute and each of its faculty, he/she is bound to fail in effectively guiding any institute.
Concluding, it is critical for an institute to make a considered decision in picking up a right consultancy or consultant. ‘Accreditation Edge’ and ‘Higher Education Accreditation’ are the two top accreditation consultancy agencies in India which enjoy the trust of nearly 75% of institutes seeking consultancy and mentoring in India. Recently, a number of individual experts have come up with a significant high impact contribution, as well. However, notwithstanding the spoken credibility, it is a ‘must do’ by institutes to verify the true credentials before engaging a top NAAC or NBA consultant for your institute.
The writer, Prof JR Sharma is a leading accreditation expert in India and has mentored over 82 institutes of higher education in NAAC, NBA and foreign accreditation.