Binary Accreditation System in India - National Assessment and Accreditation Council  


In February 2024, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) announced a binary accreditation system for higher education institutions in India, in which institutions will be categorized as accredited or not accredited. The new system removes the current C level category which had discouraged several higher education institutions from applying for accreditation and resulted in some discriminatory grading of institutions.

Going forward, institutions will be assessed based on a Maturity-Based Graded Accreditation (MBGA) system composed of levels 1 through 5:

  • Levels 1 to 4 signifies Institutions of National Excellence
  • Level 5 signifies Institutions of Global Excellence for Multi-Disciplinary Research and Education.

The current system of giving higher education institutions a grade of A, A+, B, etc., is no longer permissible. The new changes are being implemented in two stages. The binary system goes into effect by summer 2024, and the MBGA by the end of 2024.

The expected benefits transforming the accreditation system include:

  • Positioning higher education institutions better, both nationally and globally.
  • Making the system more inclusive – increasing the bandwidth to have all institutions come forward to seek accreditation.
  • Bringing greater transparency in the higher education system.
  • Helping students make informed decisions about the institutions where they are likely to seek admission.
  • Enabling higher education institutions to have the choice to seek program-specific assessment which will enable students to ascertain the highly graded programs.
  • Recognizing heterogeneity of higher education institutions by categorizing them based on their orientation/vision and heritage/legacy rather than the prevalent one-size-fits-all model.


In 2022, NAAC published a white paper, Re-imagining Assessment and Accreditation in Higher Education in India, that made the case for removing the prevalent grading system and replacing it with a binary system. The report found that the existing grading system promoted unhealthy competition and was being used as a marketing tool.


Established in 1994, NAAC is an independent organization in India that evaluates and accredits higher education institutions (colleges, universities, other recognized institutions) to ensure quality assurance. NAAC assesses the performance of educational institutions based on predetermined criteria. NAAC is funded by the University Grants Commission and headquartered in Bangalore, India. The NAAC functions through a General Council and Executive Committee, in which educational administrators, policymakers, and senior academicians from a cross-section of system of higher education are represented.



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