The Indian Higher Education system is a growing system with about 60 school boards, 420 state universities, 120 deemed universities, 50 central universities and 360 private universities. Furthermore, there are around 110 other institutions like IISc/ IITs/ IIMs/ NITs/ NITIE/ IIITS and about 10 more other centrally financed institutions. These institutions issue academic awards like degrees, diplomas, and certificates along with mark sheets and evaluations to students. Moreover, apart from these, institutions under various departments and ministries give out skill-based certificates, diplomas and advanced diplomas.
Maintaining academic awards in an electronic or digital depository will provide benefit to the educational institutions, students as well as employers by enabling online access to academic awards which will strike out the need for persons to approach educational institutions for obtaining transcripts of such mark sheets or awards for verification purposes.
This method will also eliminate fraudulent practices like forging certificates and mark sheets, by carrying out online verifications. The National Academic Depository aims at ensuring a credible as well as a convenient mechanism for online lodging, authentication and verification of the academic awards that are issued by various educational institutions.
The National Academic depository was developed as an initiative to provide an online storehouse of all academic awards. It is a 24×7 online house for storing academic awards like diplomas, certificates, mark sheets, degrees, etc that are duly digitised and lodged by the academic boards/ institutions/ eligible assessment bodies. National Academic Depository not only ensures easy access to and retrieval of an academic award but it verifies and guarantees its authenticity and safe storage.
Digi locker is a Flagship initiator of the ministry of Electronics and information technology and the digital India program. The Digi locker aims at digital empowerment of citizens by offering access to authentic digital documents to citizens’ digital document wallets. The documents issued in the Digi locker system are deemed to be at par with original physical documents as per Rule 9A of the Information Technology Rules, 2016 which was notified on the 8th February 2017
Some of the salient features of the National Academic Depository are mentioned below:
- It allows students to retrieve their lodged academic awards at any time
- It maintains authenticity, integrity and confidentiality of the database
- It is operated fully in online mode
- It allows the lodging of academic awards in digital format, maintaining The authenticity and integrity of access to the database and of the awards lodged in it
- it allows employers and other persons with prior approval of the concerned student to verify the authenticity of an academic award
The stakeholders of the National Academic Depository are mentioned below:
- Students or other award holders
- Academic institutions/ boards/ eligibility assessment bodies
- Verifying entities, like banks, employer companies, government entities, academic institutions/ boards/ universities/ eligibility assessment bodies
- Ministry of Education/ University Grants Commission
The National Academic Depository offers the following services :
- Register academic institutions/ boards/ eligibility assessment bodies
- Register students based on their Aadhar card/ phone number
- Register verification users
- Allow academic institutions/ boards/ eligibility assessment bodies to upload the academic awards issued
- Permit academic institutions/ boards/ eligibility assessment bodies to link the academic awards to the National Academic Depository account of the relevant students
- Allow students to download or print an authenticated copy of their academic award
- Allow the verifying entities to verify the authenticity of the academic award