The government is planning to split the regulatory and accreditation roles of the All India Council for Technical Education, or AICTE, which oversees the functioning of engineering and business schools, giving in to a longstanding demand of colleges which have had several run-ins with the body and even alleged that its inspectors demand bribes.
The government will create an independent accreditation body for colleges, both private and state-run, by merging the National Assessment and Accreditation Council, or NAAC, part of the government body that allocates money to universities, the University Grants Commission (UGC), and the National Board of Accreditation, or NBA, which is part of AICTE, higher education secretary R.P. Agrawal told a team from industry lobby Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, or Ficci, earlier this week.
“(The) government is looking at the proposition of merging these two bodies and delinking them from AICTE and UGC,” said Shobha Mishra, joint director at Ficci.
Another member of Ficci's higher education committee independently confirmed that Agrawal had indicated this at the meeting where the participants included a representative from Manipal University, one of India's largest private universities. The higher education secretary's office did not return calls for comment.
“Accreditation will then be made mandatory to ensure quality”, said this member,J.S. Neerav, vice-chairman of the board of Patiala-based Thapar University, who attended the meeting as a representative of colleges. “As far as educational institutions are concerned, we have been saying that accreditation and regulation should be different”.
The move will need changes to existing laws on the regulation of educational institutions and will have to be approved by Parliament.