While some colleges in Delhi University have been participating pro-actively in the National Assessment and Accreditation Council’s (NAAC) grading system, others call it a “farce”. Teachers from various colleges in Delhi University are divided over the ongoing grading system. Colleges due for peer review in the upcoming months are reaching out to their student bodies and even to their alumni to take their feedback on the college’s services and facilities, while some other colleges are giving the assessment a cold shoulder.
The NAAC had recently overhauled its grading system for the first time since 2007. Instead of the four-point (A, B, C or D) system, colleges are now being graded on a seven-point scale. These seven grades—A++, A+, A, B++, B+, B, C and D—will correspond to a cumulative grade point average (CGPA), with 4.0 being the highest. Institutes that are graded less than or equal to 1.50 will be marked “D”, which would mean that the NAAC has deemed them not accredited.
The Karol Bagh-based campus of Sri Guru Nanak Dev (SGND) Khalsa College has taken to web-based services to get the best feedback from their student alumni. The college has prepared an online questionnaire and requested their alumni to share their feedback for NAAC ranking. The online survey forwarded by the college authorities asks students how satisfied they are with the progress they have made in their careers, the effectiveness of college in providing the ability to think critically, ability to write well, ability to be productive and be a team leader, ability to use the computer, ability to become a good citizen and cope with ethical challenges. The survey has also asked the alumni to grade various college facilities and invited suggestions for improvement. The idea is to reach out to the successful alumni of college and to showcase the achievements of the students who have been part of SGND Khalsa community.
An SGND Khalsa college official, on the condition of anonymity, said, “Yes, we have been working to reach out to the alumni and gather their views about the college. The peer review is round the corner and we want to put our best effort to get good grades. This is the first time that this kind of ranking is being done and we are happy to be a part of it.”
But not all colleges are as enthusiastic. Some teachers of Shyam Lal College, requesting anonymity, said: “It doesn’t really matter what grade we get. We are anyway not aiming for an ‘A’. Even if we get a grade between ‘B++’ or ‘C’, we will continue to do fine because largely among the teachers’ community, there has not been much support for the NAAC grading. We don’t trust the procedure. Peer review has been riddled in controversy since there have been doubts about money being paid to review teams for getting extra good marks. Colleges that have been keen on getting an autonomous status and defect outside DU are mostly the ones working hard to get good grades.”
Ajay Bhagi, member of the National Democratic Teacher’s Front of Delhi University, said, “It is right to grade colleges as it will help students and parents to make an informed choice. But the grading process needs to be authentic. The NAAC grading cannot become a basis for the government to evaluate colleges for allocating funds as the system is not entirely transparent.You cannot compare government and private colleges.”
C.S. Rawat, vice-president of Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA), said, “The NAAC ranking process is unfair. How can you compare a government and a private college on the same lines? A government college has to operate under certain circumstances and with a sense of social liability and it cannot match the level of facilities that a private college provides. As far as the issue of autonomy is concerned, this is just the first step in a chain reaction. For now, colleges with a high grade will defect from DU; tomorrow when those colleges become universities, their branches will want to become autonomous. Today DU has a brand value. If a large number of colleges branch out, it will not only affect brand DU, but will also make studying at these colleges far more expensive.”
Jaswinder Singh, principal, SGTB Khalsa College, North Campus, showing trust in the government’s regulations, said, “The NAAC is compulsory for all colleges. The procedure that has been finalised by the Ministry of Human Resource Development should be duly regarded and we, too, are up for the game. Getting a good NAAC score has its legal and financial implications that should be taken seriously. Those colleges who get lower grades may find it difficult to get government benefits later.”