by July 19, 2013 0 comments

The National Board of Accreditation of India is committed to promote international quality standards for technical education in India. They had the humungous task of performing quality accreditations of 2000 institutes with over 20,000 programmes spread across India at the time of publishing this case study.

Earlier, the entire accreditation process was manual. Institutes would file their applications in a prescribed format. There was a clerical check done at the NBA, for getting requisite statutory approvals because NBA is a govt. body like many institutes that apply for accreditation. All checking used to be manual. A team of experts used to go to the institutes, interact with them, etc and then submitted their reports. This report was considered by another committee, which used to then pass on their recommendations to the NBA executive committee. The Executive Committee’s decision was then notified to the institute.

Gaining accreditation for an institute is like getting recognition for the quality of a program. So if the accreditation process itself is under cloud, and the accreditation agency is also under cloud, then the process doesn’t carry any weight. So to ensure that NBA’s credibility remains very high, the accreditation process has to be transparent. That’s why, NBA decided to implement eNBA, which in fact, is just one of the modules of our overall office automation project, which comprises of around 17 modules.

The Implementation

The project was implemented on a cloud based platform provided by HCL. A real-time dashboard for all stakeholders was created to allow seamless interactions during the accreditation process. This dashboard includes the following:

– A Messaging System to get real-time messages
– Online Accreditation Application Submission
– Online Fee Submission via payment gateway
– Submission of electronic Self-Assessment Report (SAR)
– Visiting Team Information
– Online Evaluation Reports Submission
– Notification System with timelines/reminders for timely completion of the accreditation process.
– Electronic management of various committee meetings involved in accreditation process
– Final award of accreditation status to the Institute.

Conference Management: In addition to the dashboard, a conference management system has also been created, which enables online management of various NBA conferences. This allows announcement of conferences, publishing of conference details, management of conference committees, review of various papers submitted, driving conference registrations, printing of conference passes, online feedback by attendees, and accessing the conference details on smartphones, etc.

Integrated Video Conferencing Platform: A teleconferencing and multiparty video conferencing platform of Adobe was also integrated to facilitate NBA to interact with its stakeholders.

Overall, there were 17 different application modules that were built and were meant to automate the overall manual functioning of all sections of NBA. The complete solution is hosted on a cloud platform with DR so as to ensure that the system is up and running all the time.

The Impact

Since the complete accreditation process has been automated, it brings in overall 75% time saving in the accreditation process. So what used to take 1.5 years can now be completed in just 4 months. The platform allows seamless communication between NBA and such a large number of institutes in real-time.

Since transparency is the essence in an accreditation process, the complete accreditation status is available to the entire world on NBA’s public website. The status is provided with RAG status indicator to share detailed step by step progress and whether it is on time.

While the main objective for eNBA was to bring in transparency and save time in the accreditation process, it has also resulted in saving humongous amount of paperwork. About 14,000 kgs of paper is being saved per year as a result of this deployment. Moreover, NBA is saving Rs. 4.28 Cr in paper, storage, courier and other miscellaneous charges as a result.

As the solution has been deployed on a cloud based platform, it results in 20% cost saving in AMC.

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