A very few people in academics, NAAC or NBA are aware that a Mentor, Chair or Consultant is a mandatory requirement with the world’s top accrediting bodies, namely ABET, AACSB and others. However, in India, these services are sadly discouraged. It is however, undeniable that an expert , be it from the accrediting agencies or a private agency should be an eminent professional with proven credentials ; an ethical person who relies on building capacity and competency as a singular means to enable institute attain its designated goals.
1. An expert accreditation consultant undertakes a thorough audit, pin-points gaps in the preparedness quite precisely, recommends capacity-building measures and hand-holds institutes’ Steering Committee in building the desired competency.
2. Often, institutes don’t bother to go into the criteria, well in advance. As of date, Steering Committee of over 90% institutes, come face-to-face with the requirements only while applying for the accreditation. Steering Committee thus suddenly realizes that the desired level of activity expected out of them had not been done. So, they cook up. A good accreditation expert will discourage this cooking up. Instead, he will prepare institutes much in advance for the impending requirement and recommend ways to build the data, ethically.
3. NAAC SSR and NBA SAR have some inherent problems in a number of metrics. Though a few changes have been made by accrediting bodies in the past to improve it, a situation of dichotomy and confusion still exists in a number of criteria. A good expert can precisely pin-point each such anomaly and the way to wade through it with the best results. A few loopholes do exist in the criteria which can be leveraged to get 100 % marks.
4. A top NAAC accreditation consultant or NBA Consultant is always well-versed with the global best practices in teaching-learning, research and is often in touch with the ever evolving technological advances. He is invariably well acquainted with the ‘innovative best practices’, followed globally. This advantage is passed on by him to the consulting institutes. It helps institutes in a perspective planning, curriculum revision, implementing advanced teaching tools and improvement of overall academic governance.
5. An accreditation expert is your institute’s friend and philosopher. He will always be available to you 24X7 for any clarification, advice and guidance, during the advanced preparations, online submission and pre-peer team visit. You can depend upon expert’s huge network to collaborate with institutes of eminence, research funding agencies and establish liaison with the industry.
6. A good accreditation consultant will set up your ‘outcome-based education system’, a primary requirement for NBA accreditation and substantially needed for NAAC too. Unfortunately, over 80% HEIs are not conversant with the ‘assessment and evaluation’ and its documentation for effectiveness. Institutes confine themselves to the basic task of forming and mapping PEOS, POS, PSOs, and COs only, which is not even 10% of the total requirement. Top NBA and NAAC consultants from ‘AccreditationEdge’ are arguably, the sole masters in this process, in India. The experts have volume of experience in the outcome-based education process across leading Indian and foreign universities and colleges.
7. NAAC provides for opting out, up to 50 weightage points for non-applicable criteria. If you have engaged one amongst the best NAAC Consultants in India, he will precisely guide you which criterion to leave out to ensure that your overall score is positively impacted.
8. No one denies the compelling need for motivating and inspiring all faculty to work in unison for the singular aim to excel in the accreditation. It is best done by an outsider than an insider. Outside expert is always acknowledged as authority, and rarely disputed. Accreditation being a team work always needs a united effort.
9. An expert can assist institute in carrying out mock inspection prior to peer team inspection and pinpoint deficiencies as also recommend measures. It is a big advantage to close the gaps in preparations.
10. Students satisfaction survey holds significant weightage in the SSR. Students need to be explained in a specially organized seminar about the NAAC system. A motivational talk if warranted is delivered so that students do provide constructive feedback.
Concluding, it is amply clear from the above that a mentor/chair/consultant is of an immense use to institutes, irrespective of its eminence and standing for best accreditation outcomes. If any institute desires to score a top grade, I personally feel, it is MUST DO.
The writer, Prof JR Sharma is a Leading Consultant in NAAC and NBA accreditation in India.