New Delhi: India’s human resources development (HRD) ministry will soon survey students on their satisfaction with their colleges and universities as part of the process of evaluating these institutes—a first in a country where many educational institutes do not deliver on their promises.

“Student satisfaction is key for any institution. It will now form part of educational institutes evaluation process," said D.P. Singh, director of the national assessment and accreditation council or NAAC, an autonomous body under the HRD ministry.

Speaking at the Tuesday meeting of the ministry that arrived at this decision, HRD minister Prakash Javadekar said institutional evaluation will be made robust; the ministry is in favour of third-party validation of all data provided by colleges and universities for evaluation and accreditation, he added.

Officials at the ministry said students would be surveyed on the quality of teaching, the learning environment, the qualification of teachers and their domain expertise, the infrastructure promised and provided, and placements.

As per the new plan, which will be effected from July, the government will survey students in two phases: first, through the list of students provided by the institutions and second, by random sampling carried out by expert teams.

The government plans to protect the identity of students.

At least 10% of the students of a institution will be surveyed according to ministry officials. Mostly, only graduating students will be asked to evaluate the institutions on a five point scale, they added.

Furqan Qamar, secretary general of the Association of Indian Universities welcomed the move, likened it to exit interviews in companies, and said the UK does something similar.

He said students should also be asked for suggestions on improving their institutions. That’s the plan, said Singh.

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