Ensuring Quality in Higher Education : Prof. Dayanand Dongaonka, Association of Indian Universities, India

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With the new economic order, the disparity between rich and poor will widen, particularly in the area of higher education.  The quality of education in the rural areas is far below than that being offered in urban India

What are the guiding objectives behind setting up of Association of Indian Universities. Please elaborate on AIU’s role in the current education scenario?

The core objective or function of the Association is to serve as an inter-university organisation. To play this role, we have to engage in a wide range of activities. For instance, we act as a bureau of information and to facilitate communication. It coordinates mutual consultation amongst universities and liaisons between them and government on matters of common interest. It also acts as a representative of Indian universities in international forums.

Please share with our readers AIU’s organisational history?

The idea of bringing together all the universities on a common platform emerged from the deliberations of a Conference of the Vice Chancellors of Universities convened by Lord Reading, the then Viceroy of India at Shimla in 1924. The Inter-University Board (IUB) of India was subsequently formed on March 23, 1925, with the view of promoting university activities, especially by way of sharing information and co-operation in the field of education, culture, sports and allied areas.

The Inter-University Board acquired a legal status with its registration in 1967 as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. In 1973, it assumed its present name – Association of Indian Universities (AIU). The membership includes traditional universities, open universities, professional universities, institutes of national importance and deemed-to-be universities. In addition, there is a provision of granting of Associate Membership to universities of neighbouring countries.

How does AIU plays a role in ensuring quality in higher education?

We offer regular membership of this Association only after a stringent inspection of the university, that has sought membership, in areas of infrastructure, manpower, academic programmes, etc. Such an inspection in turn helps ensure quality in these institutions. Besides this, we train both the administrative and teaching through research methodology workshops, administrative management workshops and examination reforms seminars etc. This helps build capacity of the academic and non-academic human resource in university system which ultimately helps in improving the quality of education.

How do you reach out to the students engage in higher education, by the way of providing information?

Students Information Services Division of the Association of Indian Universities serves the students, academics, parents, other stakeholders and visitors to AIU House by providing them information on the status of Indian Institutions of higher education, professional bodies etc. and on the courses offered by Indian universities and other institutions recognized by statutory bodies like AICTE, NCTE and MCI. It provides extensive information through Universities Handbook regarding accredited courses conducted by Central and State Agencies, teaching staff of university department, constituent/affiliated colleges, etc. It also brings out other professional handbooks like Handbook on Engineering Education, Management Education, Medical Education, Computer Education and Distance Education.

AIU has initiated a very ambitious programme, the Students Research conventions

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