Information Panel puts ceiling to cost for seeking copies of answer sheet only at a cost of Rs 2 per page, censors practice of charging exhorbitant fees

In a major relief to the students, the Central Information Commission has directed all the Universities in India, including deemed Universities and all examining bodies to provide copies of answer sheet only at a cost of Rs 2 per page. It has also directed UGC and Association of Indian Universities, to circulate, publicize and insist on implementation of the rule in all academic/examining bodies. It has also directed MHRD to circulate this order to all examining bodies including Universities and make it mandatory for them to bring uniformity in the rules and regulations by fixing cost at not more than Rs 2 per page of answer sheet.

CIC was examining the rule of Delhi University, which prescribed Rs. 750/- per application for seeking copy of the Answer Sheet. CIC has not only prescribed this ceiling, at the same time it has held that rules prescribing a student to pay exorbitant fees for seeking copy of answer sheets are in violation of Right to Information Law and must be changed to allow a student to exercise his Right to Information.

CIC gave this ruling while hearing a Complaint / Appeal regarding constraints including huge fees being charged for providing certified copy of evaluated answer sheet. The aggrieved student was questioning the regulation of Delhi University alleging that it enables University to impose unreasonable time­ frames and cost constraints on their right to secure copy of answer­sheet. CIC also ruled that such rules are against the law settled by Supreme Court of India.

Section 7 of RTI Act says: “…provide the information on payment of such fee as may be prescribed…” Section 7(2)(a) says that the PIO has to ‘give details of further fees representing cost of providing the information as determined by him together with the calculations made to arrive at the amount in accordance with fee prescribed under sub-section(1) requesting him to deposit that fees….”. As per Section 7(2)(b), the PIO has to inform the applicant “concerning his right with respect to review the decision as to the amount of fee charged or the form of access provided…”. Rule 4 of the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules 2005, framed by the Central Government mandates the following rates, (a) rupees two for each page or actual cost in case of larger size paper.

CIC relied on Judgements of the Supreme Court in case of CBSE v Aditya Bandopadhyay and ICAI v. Shaunak Satya, which has held that evaluated answer-book is an ‘information’ under the RTI Act and cannot be under any exemption prescribed under RTI Act.

CIC also relied on the Judgement of Rajasthan High Court in relation to the exorbitant fee charged by a University to extent of Rs 1000 for copy of answer sheets, which had held that charging of exorbitant fees of Rs.1,000/- for the purpose of providing copy of answer-book to a student by the respondent-University is in violation of object and purpose of the Act of 2005 and is an ill-intended attempt on the part of the University to discourage the students from seeking certified copies of their answer-books.

CIC felt that imposing time and cost constraints over and above the norms prescribed by RTI Act and Rules and charging Rs 750 per paper, which far more than Rs 2 for copy per page (as prescribed) will impose economic burden on a student, who has paid an examination fee to meet the expenditure to conduct examination including the cost of evaluation. This is a huge amount over and above the fee collected, for recounting and re­evaluation. CIC also felt that charging so high a fee/cost will not only deny the accessibility, but also immunize the public authority from being accountable to students. The resultant situation is: If a student cannot pay Rs 750, the Delhi University will become not accountable for its evaluation! This is against objective and scheme of RTI Act.

answer sheet.jpg

 

It finally held that that “prescribing unreasonable cost and time constraint will in fact amount to complete denial of information to the students on grounds of their economic status, which is in violation of Article 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution of India. No citizen shall be discriminated on the basis of his access to resources or any criteria including poverty as per his fundamental report to equality. It is very sad that educational institution like university is not mindful of the basic fact and they are going on denying information to the students, by imposing high cost, which means if you cannot afford, you cannot access. Thus, charging of Rs 750 per answer sheet will amount to breach of sections 3, 6 and 7 of the RTI Act.”

 It thus held that high cost of Rs 750 per paper for securing copy of answer­sheet and time conditions that a student has to approach only after 61 days and before 75 days after result declared will unreasonably restrict the right to access to his own answer book and breakup of marks awarded.

EduLegaL View

There are two concepts of law “substantive” and “procedural”. While RTI Act, 2005 guarantees “Right to Information” to an Indian Citizen, which is substantive law. Rules made by Public Authorities prescribing the condition for implementation of this “substantive law” is part of “procedural law”.

Public Authorities by way of delegated legislation cannot frame a “procedural law” by which exercise of “substantive law” becomes difficult or impossible. The “procedural law” has to aid the “substantive law”.

Making RTI Rules, to make it difficult for a student to exercise his Right to Information is infringement of liberty of students to get a photocopy of answer script and their right to access the information. The rules cannot prescribe unreasonable time and cost constraints, as “Right to access the Information” is inherent in “Right to Information”.

Read the Full Judgement.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

 

Advertising Council finds ads of major Coaching Institutes for CAT, IIT and Law to be misleading

Advertising Council finds ads of major Coaching Institutes for CAT, IIT and Law to be misleading

In a major crackdown on Advertisements released by the Coaching Institutes engaged in field of Coaching Students for CAT, MBA, Law Entrance, IIT, GREE, GMAT, the Advertisement Standard Council of India, has in its decision of October 2015 has found several of their ads to be misleading, unsubstantiated and ambiguous.

These Institutes as per the decision of the Advertising Council have made claims of Ranking in the Entrance Examinations, Number of successful students, Coaching and Learning Material Preparations and Contents, Test Series, Coaching Pedagogy to influence the aspirants to join their Institutes.

In October 2015, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against major Coaching Institutions which operate in MBA / Engineering / Law Domain relating to misleading advertisements and unsubstantiated claims in their Advertisements. The CCC found that claims in the following advertisements were not substantiated and, thus, violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions.


  1. Byju Classes: The claims in the advertisement, “Best CAT Coaching Institute in India”, “GMAT Topper”, “Unique CAT Pattern Workshop”, “Can’t Compare with Byju & Santosh”, “Study Material of Most of the Institutes have no value differentiation”, “80% of the students have crossed 90 percentile over the last 5 years”, “Unique Approach to RC”, “Best Team of IAS Trainers”, “India’s No. Aptitude Trainer”, “India’s #1 IAS faculty”, “20,000 test-takers across the country”, “No National Level Tests” and “Best Teachers”, were not substantiated. Other related Ads of BYJU Classes, which were found not to be in accordance with the advertising norms were as follows:

  •  GRE Coaching: The claims in the advertisement, “Why is success guaranteed in GRE with Mumbai’s top GRE coaching classes – BYJU’S classes?”, “60 sec is what you need to crack any verbal question using our Mathematical Approach”, “Best Teacher & comprehensive course content” and “70% of our students cross 320 in GRE with our courses”, were not substantiated.
  • CAT Coaching: The claims in the advertisement, “Bell the CAT with India’s No.1 CAT Trainers”, “2000 students attend BYJU’s Classes together in a single batch in single center – making it India’s Biggest Classroom” and “Byju Raveendran serial CAT topper & No. 1 trainer for the CAT”, were not substantiated.
  • GMAT Coaching Classes: The claims in the advertisement, “70% of our students have a score of 700+ in GMAT”, “60 sec is what you need to crack any GMAT verbal question using our Patented Mathematical Approach”, “760 is the minimum GMAT score of our trainers” and “We are exclusive education partner with Samsung, The Times of India, The Hindu”, were not substantiated with evidence.
  1. CL Educate Ltd. (Career Launcher): The claims in the advertisement, “CAT Test Series – The No.1 Cat Test Series Program”, “Most recommended test series”, “Rated the best by students”, “True percentile predictor”, were not substantiated adequately.

false advertisement

  1. Rao Edusolutions Pvt Ltd. (Rao IIT Academy): The claims in the advertisement, “India’s most dominating results in JEE Advanced 2015”, “8 out every 10 RIITians qualify in MH-CET” and “Number of students selected from Mumbai” (graph showing year of JEE Advanced), were not substantiated with supporting data. In another case relating to Rao Edusolutions Pvt Ltd. (Rao IIT Academy), the claim in the advertisement, “Every nine out of ten Rao IIT students qualified for JEE Mains”, was not substantiated with evidence/ supporting data.
  1. Exam Victor (Online MBA Entrance Coaching): The claims in the advertisement, “India’s Finest Online MBA Entrance Coaching. Period”, “The Best Faculty-Each lecture, every problem and each video is painstakingly hand-crafted by Vivek, an alumnus of IIT Bombay and IIM Ahmedabad. So you can rest assured that your study material is of the highest quality”, “Individual Attention-Making you an Exam Victor is our only priority. We leverage the best technology and cutting- edge analytics to closely follow your progress and provide you timely feedback”, “How is learning online with ExamVictor better?” and “Most classes employ regular graduates of variable quality”, were not substantiated.
  1. IMS Learning Resources Pvt. Ltd. (MBA CET): The advertiser argues that the term “Trusted for Success” is their logo and 15000+ students enrolling with their institute signifies their trust in the institute. The CCC did not consider enrolment of students to be necessarily an indicator of their trust in the institute. Hence, the CCC concluded that the claim in the complaint, “Trusted by 15000+ students for MBA CET since 2009”, when read in conjunction with the term “Trusted for Success” is misleading by ambiguity. 10. CATKing (CAT Toppers): The claims in the advertisement, “CAT King No.1 CAT Classes in Borivali, Andheri & Powai”, “Best you can get” and “Prof Rahul Singh further went to Harvard Business School for his masters in management”, were not substantiated.
  1. IMS Learning Resources Pvt. Ltd. (CAT Training): The claims in the advertisement accompanied by a visual and cited in the complaint “Closest to CAT” was not adequately substantiated by comparative data versus other similar institutes. Also, the claim support data for “Designed by 5-time 100 percentiler” was not considered acceptable and authentic.
  1. CETKing Education: The claims in the advertisement, “Home of Toppers” with photographs of 3 students who have been toppers in entrance test, “Results:700+ IIM Calls, 200+ JBIMS Calls, 358 IIM Converts, 236 SYMBIOSIS, 63 NMIMS,18 TISS, 19 MICA .. many more”, were not substantiated with evidence. Other advertisements not found to be in order was the claim in the advertisement, “CET King No.1 in Dadar” “CET King Dadar Best Coaching available” “Increase your mark by 40 marks” “Guaranteed Admissions in top B- Schools”, were not substantiated with evidence.
  1. CATKing (CLAP Digital Marketing Course): The claims in the advertisement, “Certification from a Harvard Business School Alumni”, and claims with reference to Mr Rahul Singh – “He is a CAT 99.99% in Verbal Ability”, “He scored 780/800 in GMAT”, “He scored 340/340 in GRE and became the World’s Rank 1 GRE Topper”, “He ranks 14th in the world for teaching English”, “He pursued his MBA from SP Jain Institute of Management & Research, Mumbai” and “He also achieved a degree in Master of Information Technology from Virginia Tech”, were not substantiated with authentic evidence.
  1. Cheil India P. Ltd (Samsung Smart Learning): The claims, “Best test preparation institutes onboard ”, “Best in class content partners”, “Aakash is the premier institute for preparation of medical, engineering & foundation level entrance exams in India”, “Byju has revolutionized Indian education”, were not substantiated with authentic supporting data to prove the credentials of their partners.
  1. CL Educate Ltd. (CL LST): The claim in the advertisement, “8 consecutive CLAT toppers till date”, was not substantiated.
  1. Clat Possible: The CCC concluded that in the context of the coaching for Law Entrance exam being offered in the Institute, the claim in the Website, “Surabhi Modi Sahai has won Fulbright Scholarship”, is misleading by ambiguity as claim support was for Ms Modi to be a Hindi Teaching Assistant under Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant program.
  1. Triumphant Institute of Management Education P. Ltd: The claim in the advertisement, “Karnak Verma makes history by ranking All India 3rd in IAS CSAT exam”, is false and misleading as no such rankings are given by Union Public Service Commission who conduct the CSAT exam.

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) was established in 1985. One of the important functions of ASCI to ensure the protection of the interests of consumers in various categories. ASCI has therefore laid down guidelines with a view to achieve the acceptance of fair advertising practices in the best interests of the ultimate consumer.

The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI deals with complaints received from Consumers and Industry, against Advertisements which are considered as False, Misleading, Indecent, Illegal, leading to Unsafe practices, or Unfair to competition, and consequently in contravention of the ASCI Code for Self-Regulation in Advertising.

ASCI is also the “Executive Arm” of the Department of Consumer Affairs handling all complaints pertaining to misleading advertisements.

EduLegaL View:

An old marketing strategy saying goes “ Jo Dikhta wahi bikta hai”, it would not be out of place to improvise it to say “Jo Dikhaya Jata hai, wahi bikta hai”.

Coaching Classes and Institutions have overgrown in India due to huge peer pressure and parental aspirations. It is one of the biggest sector, but still unregulated in majority part of the Country. It is high time that this sector is regulated.

Advertisements surprisingly have become one of most important medium to attract students recently amongst educational institutions. Advertisements play a big role in deciding an Institution and it is required that it should be a responsible step devoid of inducements and falsehoods.

But my issue is, what next, what is the action that will be taken against these coaching institutions, who have indulged in misleading publications and advertisements and what about the students who found themselves on the wrong side relying upon the advertisements.

There is no effective legislation in place, which deals with these situations. MHRD look into the matter and bring effective legislation to ban such ads and take effective actions against the Institutions.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

Read Earlier Releases by EduLegaL on Misleading Ads in Education Sector:

Advertising Council finds major Coaching classes Ads to be misleading

Advertising Council finds 41 Educational Ads fake, false, misleading, unsubstantiated

Advertising Council finds Ads of 25 Educational Institutions misleading

 

 

 

Advertising Council finds major Coaching classes Ads to be misleading

Advertising Standards Council of India [ASCI] has been receiving several complaints from parents and students against misleading claims being made in advertisement of various educational institutions pertaining to claims of success in competitive examinations, guaranteed placement and passing, recognition and affiliation institution, ranking of the institutions, nomenclature of degrees etc.

In September 2015, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against major Coaching Institutions which operate in MBA / Engineering Domain relating to misleading advertisements and unsubstantiated claims in nature of Ranking / Award / Recognitions/ Placement Claim / Success Claim / Skill Acquisition / Achievements in Competitive Examinations.

The CCC found that claims in the advertisements were not substantiated and, thus, violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions.

  1. CL Educate Limited (CAT Coaching): The claim in the advertisement, “5911 IIM Calls by 973 CL students from Delhi/NCR in CAT 2014”, was not substantiated.
  1. Shri Maharana Pratap Private ITI: The claims in the advertisement, “100% Government Job provided if they do courses from Shri Maharana Paratap ITI” and “Number of jobs in govt. sector 15000 and private sector 5,00,000”, were not substantiated. Also, the advertisement was designed to look like editorial matter, which was found to be misleading.
  1. Sea Academy- The claim in the Advertisement, “100% Pass Guarantee Coaching”, was not substantiated.

false advertisement

  1. Aakash Educational Services Pvt. Ltd. (Aakash Institute): The advertiser claiming that Twins, Rahul Bansal and Sahil Bansal (AIIMS-2015 ranks 23 and 40) were from their coaching institutes was not substantiated with authentic evidence.
  1. Institute of Advance Network Technology: The claims mentioned in the advertisement and cited in the complaint, “only institute in India which offers to students five international, nine participation and one IANT totaling 15 certificates”, “A student may get only one IANT Certificate or depending on the courses he chooses, participating companies be offering their certificates”, “100% job guarantee”, “its IT Job Portal is the only one available in India”, “Once they complete the course, they can earn annually from Rs.78000/- to Rs. 4,60,000/- as salary”, “No.1 Hardware Networking and Software training institute”, “No.1 Infrastructure” and “No.1 Quality Education”, were not substantiated.
  1. CL Educate Ltd. (All India Mock IBPS PO Preliminary examination): The claims in the advertisement, “Compete with aspirants from 200 cities” and “Over 1.2 million students trust CL with their exam preparation every year”, were not substantiated.
  1. AIM Study Center: The claim in the Advertisement, “100% Job Guarantee or else money back”, was not substantiated.

EduLegaL View:

An old marketing strategy saying goes “ Jo Dikhta wahi bikta hai”, it would not be out of place to improvise it to say “Jo Dikhaya Jata hai, wahi bikta hai”.

Coaching Classes and Institutions have overgrown in India due to huge peer pressure and parental aspirations. It is one of the biggest sector, but still unregulated in majority part of the Country. It is high time that this sector is regulated.

Advertisements surprisingly have become one of most important medium to attract students recently amongst educational institutions. Advertisements play a big role in deciding an Institution and it is required that it should be a responsible step devoid of inducements and falsehoods.

But my issue is, what next, what is the action that will be taken against these educational institutions, who have indulged in misleading publications and advertisements and what about the students who found themselves on the wrong side relying upon the advertisements.

There is no effective legislation in place, which deals with these situations. MHRD look into the matter and bring effective legislation to ban such ads and take effective actions against the Institutions.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in

Advertising Council finds 41 Educational Ads fake, false, misleading, unsubstantiated

Advertising Standards Council of India [ASCI] has been receiving several complaints from parents and students against misleading claims being made in advertisement of various educational institutions pertaining to guaranteed placement and passing, recognition and affiliation institution, ranking of the institutions, nomenclature of degrees etc.

In August 2015, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints in 41 advertisements in the Education category relating to misleading advertisements and unsubstantiated claims in nature of Ranking / Award / Recognitions/ Placement Claim / Success Claim / Skill Acquisition in Competitive Examinations.

The CCC found that claims in the advertisements by 41 advertisers were not substantiated and, thus, violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions.

 

Hence complaints against these advertisements were UPHELD.

  1. Personaliteez: The advertisement’s claim, “Making 2 lakhs per weekend”, was not substantiated.
  1. Peoples Empowerment Group – ISB&M School of Technology: The claims in the advertisement, “100% Placement” and “ISB&M School of Technology Ranked 8th in Emerging Engineering Institutes in India”, were not substantiated.
  1. NIPS School of Hotel Management: The claims in the advertisement, “World Record Holder”, “Ranked No. 1 Eastern India the Pioneer Newpaper 2014”, “Best Placement Award- By South Asian Academy, New Delhi, 2012”, “Ranked No. 2 Among India’s Private Hotel Management Institute – The Pioneer Newspaper – 2013”, “Holder of Limca, Asia & India Books Of Records”, “Eastern India’s Best Hotel Management College- Awarded By Brands Academy, New Delhi – 2013”, “Winner 8th National Education Award- Awarded by NEA, New Delhi- 2014”, “Winner National W.B Education Award- Awarded by NEA, New Delhi – 2014” and “Worldwide Hospitality Award- Awarded by WWHA, Paris, France- 2003”, were not adequately substantiated with evidence.
  1. The Mentor’s Academy: The claims in the advertisement stating, “Get a reputed Government job. Get Bank, Railway, Police etc. in just one day exam”, and “100% Money Back Guarantee”, were not substantiated.
  1. CL Educate Ltd (Career Launcher): The claims in the advertisement stating, “CAT Test Series – The No.1 CAT Test Series Program”, “Most recommended test series”, “Rated the best by students” and “True percentile predictor”, were not substantiated adequately.
  1. SCMS School of Engineering & Technology: The claim, “Kerala’s No. 1 Engineering College (SF) in quality and excellence”, was not substantiated with comparative data.. The claim, “SCMS is ranked No. 1 in all ranking surveys conducted by RECCA-NIT”, was not substantiated with supporting data and also the claim is misleading by omission of what the ranking was specific to.
  1. Invertis University: The advertisement claims, “National Education Award 2014 for Outstanding B-School & Engg. Univ. – ABP”, “4 Star Ranking – The Pioneer”, “Bharat Shiksh Ratan – Velidicted by GAF, Delhi” and “Best Emerging University Of North India – Indian Achievers Podium”, were not adequately substantiated and were misleading by omission of disclaimers.
  1. Career Institute for Commerce & Accounting: The claim in the Advertisement, “AIR- 26, 30, 36, 37, 41, 42” as a declaration is considered to be fake and not substantiated with supporting data.

Complaints against advertisements of all educational institutes listed below mostly are UPHELD because of unsubstantiated claims that they ‘provide 100% placement/AND/OR they claim to be the No.1 in their respective fields’:

Vidyalankar Classes, Vivekananda Degree & PG College, Aim Entertainment Acting Academy, Learn & Earn Academy, Master of Science Information & Technology, Mediit Educational Institute, ADCC Infocad Private Limited (ADCC Academy), Wisdom Institute, Sri Shakthi Institute Of Engineering & Technology, Ponjesly College of Engineering, Vidyalankar Classes, One Dream, Blue Bells Innovative School, UEI Global Education, Tajinder Bhatia Achieve Max, Vidya Knowledge Park, MIST Plus, Happy Child College of Nursing, Sai Wellness Education, The Prayag International Institute of Hotel &Tourism, All India Computer Trainers Association, IPCA Accountancy, Millennium Institute of Management, Banda Para College Medical, KIPM College of Engineering & Technology, ISC CNC Training Centre, Chalapathi Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, National Power Training Institute Corporate Centre, Centre for Bioinformatics, SKML Defence Academy, Mangayarkarasi Educational Trust (Mangayarkarasi College of Arts & Science), NIV Foundations (NIV School of Hospitality Management) and Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies (Delhi School of Business).

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) was established in 1985. One of the important functions of ASCI to ensure the protection of the interests of consumers in various categories. ASCI has therefore laid down guidelines with a view to achieve the acceptance of fair advertising practices in the best interests of the ultimate consumer.

 The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI deals with complaints received from Consumers and Industry, against Advertisements which are considered as False, Misleading, Indecent, Illegal, leading to Unsafe practices, or Unfair to competition, and consequently in contravention of the ASCI Code for Self-Regulation in Advertising.

ASCI is also the “Executive Arm” of the Department of Consumer Affairs handling all complaints pertaining to misleading advertisements.

EduLegaL View:

 Advertisements surprisingly have become one of most important medium to attract students recently amongst educational institutions. A career has lot of emotions attached to it. Parents make great personal sacrifices to enable their children to get the right education. Advertisements play a big role in deciding an Institution and it is required that it should be a responsible step devoid of inducements and falsehoods.

But my issue is, what next, what is the action that will be taken against these educational institutions, who have indulged in misleading publications and advertisements and what about the students who found themselves on the wrong side relying upon the advertisements.

There is no effective legislation in place, which deals with these situations. MHRD look into the matter and bring effective legislation to ban such ads and take effective actions against the Institutions.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in |

From old NAAC to new NIRF – Warning to avoid fraudsters continues

Earlier, it was NAAC which had issued warning / caution notice cautioning the Institutions, from getting trapped by unauthorized agencies, which claim to impart tricks for getting A grade, preparing SSRs and also making up deficiencies.

The newly launched National Institutional Ranking Framework [NIRF] it seems has also met the same fate. MHRD within few weeks of its launch has issued a strong caution notice to the Institution to avoid tricksters.

MHRD in its release has mentioned that it has received information that some private companies have started conducting training programmes and workshops on NIRF charging exorbitant amount as registration fee.

MHRD has clarified that NIRF has no association with any of these private companies. It has also informed the stake holders that NIRF portal hosts detailed documentation consisting of NIRF reports on various categories of institutions, help manuals, FAQ, etc. that would help institutions and organisations to understand methodologies for providing data required for ranking of universities.

NAAC warns Institutions to refrain from Plagiarism in SSR

National Assessment and Accreditation Council [NAAC] taking cognizance of complaints regarding “made up” informations and contents in Self Study Report submitted by the Institutions has warned the Institutions to refrain from venturing into plagiarism.

NAAC in recent past has taken several steps to strengthen the process of Assessment and Accreditation [A&A], which includes compulsory video recording of visits of the Peer Team to the Institutions. It had also issued cautionary Public Notice warning the Institutions about some mischievous agencies, which were conducting workshops claiming assistance in getting Grade “A” and helping in preparing SSR by making up data and contents.

The Revised Procedure of Assessment and Accreditation now involves submitting Letter of Intent (LOI) after uploading the Self-study Report (SSR) on the institutional website. Upon acceptance of LOI, the institution has to submit the SSR within two weeks and thereafter Peer Team visits for the purpose of Assessment followed by the declaration of Accreditation.

NAAC has developed different manuals which provide information on how the self-study report (SSR) is to be prepared, the criteria and key aspects to be addressed and the style of presentation. Still, SSR Preparation it seems has developed as big market and so called experts are helping in preparation and sale of SSRs for a big sum, with colleges ready to bear and cover these expenses.

SSR is the most critical document for the purpose of accreditation. It is like an answer sheet. It contains the vision and mission statement of the Institution, its strengths, infrastructure, facilities and amenities. It also draws the future plan of Institutions. NAAC has found that some Institutions are copying contents from SSR, which are available on the website of participating institutions and passing it as their own.

Considering the importance of SSR in process of Assessment and Accreditation and continuing with the cleansing measure, NAAC after receiving complaints regarding unfair practices of Plagiarism adopted by institutions in the preparation of the self-study report has therefore requested the Institutions to ensure that all claims made in the self-study report are validated prior to its submission to NAAC.

It has also resolved and sent a strong message that any institution indulging in any unfair practice will be debarred from applying for accreditation.

Being debarred from applying for accreditation will mean havoc for erring Institution, as under the UGC (Mandatory Assessment and accreditation of Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2012, which makes it mandatory for educational institutions to participate in accreditation process, any Institution which is not participating in process of Accreditation will be subject to punitive measures, which may include withholding of grant, revocation of affiliation.

EduLegal View

Before, I give my view, please know that one of the questions in the SSR to be submitted by the Institution is as follows:

3.4.6 What is the official policy of the university to check malpractices and plagiarism in research? Mention the number of plagiarism cases reported and action taken.

It is ironical that the erring participating Institution, which would obviously speak epics in answering the question, would indulge in plagiarism.

Plagiarism is like a sin, it is an act of fraud, and it is an Intellectual Theft and must be dealt with strongly. It is utter violation of institutional and academic ethics. Laws are inadequate to deal with these situations. It has been handled by executive orders. Even the UGC Accreditation Regulations, 2012 does not have any express provision for the same. It is high time that Centre must bring in effective law to deal with malpractices and unfair trade practices in educational institutions.

“HOW TO GET GRADE “A” in NAAC WORKSHOPS”, NAAC cautions Institutions

National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) has warned the academic community to be cautious about the false and misleading advertisements by some agencies / organizations, who are organizing and also publicizing many such workshop, with the headline “HOW TO GET GRADE “A” in NAAC”.

NAAC has also come to learn that in these workshops, the agencies promise to render services / expertise in SSR preparations to be submitted to NAAC, useful tips to achieve goods, making up some deficiencies by ad-hoc arrangements. Their claim reaches optimum when they say they will facilitate NAAC Visits and interaction with NAAC Officials.

NAAC Director has come out with strong clarification and has requested Institutions from entering into any transaction with such persons or attend their workshops / programmes. Director, NAAC has further clarified that NAAC has not authorized any agency / organization to conduct such workshop. It has also given any consent to any organization to provide services for preparing SSR and presentations during NAAC visit.

He has further clarified that NAAC Assessment and Accreditation process is completely transparent and assessment is purely based on performance of the Institution on the Seven Criteria.

NAAC is an autonomous Institutions of University Grants Commission (UGC), to assess and accredit institutions of higher education in the country.

Assessment and Accreditation is broadly used for understanding the “Quality Status” of an institution. In the context of Higher Education, the accreditation status indicates that the particular Higher Educational Institutions (HEI) – meets the standards of quality, in terms of its performance, related to the educational processes and outcomes, covering the curriculum, teaching-learning, evaluation, faculty, research, infrastructure, learning resources, organisation, governance, financial well being and student services.

EduLegal View:

In the year 2012, UGC has notified UGC (Mandatory Assessment and accreditation of Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2012, which makes it mandatory for educational institutions to participate in accreditation process. It also provides for punitive measures if the Institutions fail to participate in the process, like withholding of grant, revocation of affiliation.

In our country, with “compulsion” comes the “corruption” and such activities are routine. False and Misleading Advertisement is really hitting the education sector and it is high time that regulators should frame strict laws to deal with such situation. These advertisements are actually killing the system.

Ravi Bhardwaj | mail@edulegal.in