Education is an essential aspect of every child’s life, and the pursuit of higher education is a dream for many. In India, education is not just a means of securing a job or career but is also a matter of pride and status for families. With so many options available, parents and students often find themselves lost in the sea of possibilities when it comes to choosing the right university. In this pursuit, one important factor that cannot be overlooked is the accreditation of the college. The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) is a renowned institution that evaluates colleges and universities based on their performance, quality of education, and infrastructure. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of NAAC accreditation and how it can help families make informed decisions when it comes to choosing the right university for their children.
Who is NAAC and what do they do
The National Assessment and Accreditation Council or NAAC is a government organisation in India that accredits and assess Higher Education Institutions. It was established in 1994 to address the issues of deterioration in educational quality in India.
Simply put, the NAAC acknowledges institutes that focus on more than education. Colleges with campus safety, reporting mechanisms, geographic information systems, student support, etc. earn a high grade from NAAC. These high grades make them attractive prospects to would-be students.Institutions are evaluated by NAAC under the Student Support and Progression category, which includes an assessment of the mechanisms they provide to facilitate student support. These mechanisms may include guidance cells, placement cells, and grievance redressal systems.
The need for campus safety
Ara Johannes, a communications specialist at the WHO 2017 revealed several shocking facts about colleges in India. A shocking 61.7% of women reported facing some form of sexual harassment in or around the college. Additionally, another study funded by the UGC (University Grants Commission) revealed 40% of students in colleges in India faced some form of ragging. Of these 40%, less than 10% of these students reported these incidents.
The above information paints a grim picture of colleges in India. Although the NAAC accreditation highlights the importance of grievance redressal, the ground reality is very different.
Colleges are where teenagers learn and prepare to enter the wider world. Therefore, these institutions need to provide a safer place for them to learn and grow. The steps listed below provide the necessary guidelines to provide greater campus safety.
Installing advanced security cameras
Many houses in India now have personal security measures. IP-enabled cameras are great for homes and beneficial to colleges. While there are cameras in most colleges, they are very outdated and prone to malfunction.
IP-enabled cameras come equipped with multiple sensors, smoke and motion detection, person tracking, and alarm activation. These cameras provide better resolution than regular cameras. A campus security team can use these cameras to gain more details about perpetrators and catch them quickly.
GIS and IPS
Knowing your location is vital in an emergency. GIS or Geographic Information Systems and IPS or Indoor Positioning Systems provide the information needed about a threat’s location. With GIS and IPS, you have a blueprint of the campus, a 3D imager, and spatial context about environments. During an emergency, the Geographic Information System and Indoor Positioning System guide authorities to the threat for a speedy resolution.
GIS and IPS are very useful in tiered buildings, where locating an emergency are much harder to do without technology.
Digital signs and desktop alerts
Several schools and colleges in the west have rolled out mass messaging alerts through text and email as a reporting mechanism. However, not all campuses have the best WiFi or cell service available. Those times are when schools can use special tools that send alerts to all desktop computers on the school network and provide timely alerts.
Another new tool that provides campus safety is digital signage. Simply put, digital signage is where the college can broadcast digital contact on multiple screens and locations. In an emergency, digital signage helps students find their way to a safe place. This reporting mechanism is great for anything ranging from severe weather conditions to special events taking place.
Wireless access controls
Some colleges in India use proximity cards and key fobs as campus safety measures. Universities will benefit from integrating this into their building security. These measures are especially helpful for women staying on campus. A small step like this means a lot to women who want safety miles away from home.
Also, colleges should make wireless locks the norm. This campus safety measure makes it easy for teachers to secure their classrooms during an emergency. These mechanisms go a long way to provide greater campus safety over traditional locking hardware.
Safety apps and personal security gadgets
Almost every university student and campus goer has a smartphone they use for various purposes. Mobile safety apps are a vital tool for any university looking to increase campus safety. These apps are beneficial during an emergency and provide a valuable reporting mechanism for the students.
A dedicated campus safety app or training the students and teachers in how to use safety apps equips them with information and lifelines to help. These safety measures ensure teachers and students have peace of mind during the day. They can go about their daily activities knowing they can access a safety app at the press of a button.
Applications like I’m Safe, are equipped with features meant to help women feel safe. Such features include a reporting mechanism that alerts the user’s Trusted Contacts immediately. This app has the potential to stem the tide of sexual harassment and ragging in schools and colleges.
Nowadays, a university’s reputation is not enough to get students. Factors like NAAC accreditation and more influence the decision-making process. Hence, universities must integrate campus safety protocols and reporting mechanisms into their infrastructure. That way, they provide a safe place for children to learn and encourage prospective students to choose them over others.