The ministry of human resource development (MHRD) is planning to make it mandatory for educational institutions to enable digital storage of educational certificates, degrees and awards. MHRD, in a circular to institutes, has asked them to tie-up with the National Academic Depository.
Sources have told Moneycontrol that less than 10 percent of the total number of educational institutes in India have provided for digital educational certificates.
India has approximately 55 school boards, 359 state universities, 123 deemed universities, 47 central universities and 260 private universities. Apart from these, there are 107 other institutions such as IISc/IITs/IIMs/NITs/IISERs/IIITs/NITIE and 12 other centrally-funded institutions.
A digital certificate is more secure and easier to access than a physical certificate. Since it also has proper authentication from the institute, it is easier for prospective employers to verify the details of candidates.
With the MHRD directive, each educational institution will have to register themselves with the NAD. After this, the academic institute will be allowed to upload the certificates online.
What is NAD?
The National Academic Depository (NAD) has been established by the Government of India for online deposition of all academic awards. It was set up after a cabinet approval in October 2016. It is similar to the securities depository used for storing shares purchased in the equity market.
Here, the University Grants Commission (UGC) is the authorised body to enter into a tripartite agreement on behalf of all Central Higher Educational Institutions (CHEIs), Institutions of National Importance (INIs) and Boards with the wholly owned subsidiaries of the depositories registered under SEBI Act, 1992, namely NSDL Database Management Limited (NDML) and CDSL Ventures Limited (CVL).
This is initially for a period of three years for the purposes of establishment of NAD comprising of two interoperable digital depositories.
The academic records that are digitised include certificates, diplomas, degrees, marksheets and awards. NAD not only ensure easy access to and of an academic award but also validates and guarantees its authenticity and safe storages.
How will the NAD work?
The students are free to select either of the depositories to register on to NAD.
NAD comprises two inter-operable digital depositories, NSDL Database Management and CDSL Ventures.
For institutes, this is a an effective deterrence to fake and forged paper certificates. Further, all academic awards verification needs can be addressed by NAD. The verification fee will be mutually decided by the academic institutes and NAD.
Upto September 30, the registration fee, as well as annual maintenance fee, has been waived off. For students, the annual usage fee and first download of an academic certificate download will be free till the age of 27.