Education is the main criterion by which any country is assessed for the developmental activities as the output of any education system determines a nation’s progression in 360 degrees. In this context, Higher Education Institutions (HEI) play a pivotal role as they are the institutes, which are contributing qualified and skilled human resources. In our country, higher education is among the top priorities for development under any government as there is a global need for skilled and intelligent manpower. Because of the growing demand, we need to design a high-quality education system, which meets the global acceptance and our students are employed.
To compete with other developed nations, we need to evolve an education management system, which not only keeps our ethics alive but also caters to the needs of the global job market. To maintain quality, there should be continuous checks and assessments, which are vital for the quality functioning of HEIs. Accrediting bodies like the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) assesses and grades HEIs once in 5 years. Colleges that have secured higher grades will be assessed once in 7 years.
The accomplishment of success of any HEI depends upon teaching, teacher quality, governance, continuous evaluation, support systems for up-gradation of teacher knowledge, skill-oriented programs; add on courses, excellent infrastructure, placement, counseling and ICT (Information Communication Technology). To check whether the above-mentioned parameters are working towards achieving the goal towards quality assurance, a well-defined auditing system has to be evolved and the process will be continuous to cater to the changing needs of societal job scenarios.
At the same time, a teacher also should be equipped to support the system. Here the quality of a teacher is of paramount importance and plays a significant role in the growth and development of the education system. As per NAAC guidelines, every HEIs should establish Internal Quality Assurance Cells which tries to inculcate quality culture and internalize best practices.
It conducts student feedback on teachers and institution regularly by means of questionnaire, which has assessment parameters like teaching methodology, presentation skills, innovative teaching methods, mentoring, counseling, punctuality, availability of teacher outside the classroom etc., which is designed by Department of Collegiate Education, Government of Karnataka and followed by all the Government colleges in the State of Karnataka. This is just an example. The concept of teacher evaluation refers to the fact that getting evaluated for the above-mentioned parameters by students and then audited by a committee like IQAC of that college which further provides constructive feedback for the teacher’s professional development.
There is a general opinion that academic audit is just the teacher evaluation and the final result of the students. But academic auditing is an institutional practice that reviews the academic process in a systematic way. Some of the principles of academic auditing are evidence-based decisions, need-based academic activities, quality sustenance and prioritizing continuous improvement. The process of academic auditing includes opening meetings with a team of academic auditors, verification of documents (actual auditing) and closing meetings with commendations and recommendations.
Administration audit is also a continuous process, which contributes to the continuous growth and development of any HEIs. It is nothing but self-introspection to correct the deficiencies in the administration. Assessment of policies, strategies, fee collection, scholarship distribution, departmental functioning like preparation of time table, competency mapping, and syllabus distribution, e constitution of committees to run student support systems, activities, the involvement of IQACs in the functioning of the system for quality enhancement and institutionalization of best practices, etc.,
Academic and administrative auditing gives a comprehensive idea about the actual requirement by the stakeholders as feedback is taken from them by way of a questionnaire, which requires a lot of paper. It is not environment-friendly. It is also laborious, takes time and storage of questionnaires as a documentary proof is very difficult for institutions that have thousands of students. Hence we need to change from paper-based documentation to technology-based. Department of Collegiate Education monitors 430 Government First Grade Colleges having student strength of 3.19lakhs and imagine the quantity of paper being used earlier.
Apart from this, there are affiliated colleges also. During the process of auditing a 360 degrees feedback of academics and administration degrees from the stakeholders like students, parents , employers etc. needs to be taken. In this context Government of Karnataka has taken leap towards making less paper governance by incorporating recent ICTs in Face metric attendance, online teachers database, online student admission, HRMS, online guest faculty selection, online examination portal, Education Management Information System (EMIS), e-procurement, sevasindhu, grievances redressal, notices, emails, which have greatly reduced time, work and also paper in turn saving the environment.
Even at the college level, one can have access to ICTs open sources, Google forms for feedback, registration for conferences, a gateway for online payment of fees and student satisfaction survey, which gives immediate results for all the parameters. DCE has developed e-content for all the courses that can be availed by students with their mobiles. These can be developed in colleges by IT departments. Now online courses called Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) are also available.
Many software providers like Campus Technology have developed an ICT software platform for accreditation that helps institutions easily collect data, manage supporting documents and creates reports for accreditation as well as Academic and Administrative Audit for many academic activities. In this Global era of technology, colleges have to adopt ICTs tools for quality enhancement and sustenance which will benefit the students and society at large and save the environment. Many seminars, conferences provide firsthand information about these. NAAC also sponsors seminars/conferences/workshops on AAA which is posted on the NAAC website.