Accreditation of educational institutions will make it easy for students to assess the quality of programmes, courses, infrastructure and faculty in an institute
By Ruhi Ahuja Dhingra, Elets News Network (ENN)
To improve the quality of higher education in the country, the government has decided to make accreditation mandatory for all higher education institutions by February 2013. This means that any new university or institute of higher education will need to get accredited mandatorily by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), Bangalore, before it opens, to get funds from the University Grants Commission (UGC) for its research and academic programmes. The existing colleges will be given a few years to get accredited.
The decision came after the government failed to get the National Accreditation Regulatory Authority Bill (NARA) passed in the winter session of the Parliament. The bill has been lying in the Parliament for more than two years.
• Less than 15 percent of the universities in India are accredited
• The decision came after the Centre failed to get the NARA bill passed in the Parliament
• More than 33,000 colleges and 10,000 technical institutes are likely to get affected by the decision
• The UGC and the AICTE will be preparing benchmarks for the process of accreditation which will certify the academic quality of an institute
• The Indian Board of Accreditation will accredit and develop quality metrics in
Prof HA Ranganath, Director, NAAC, said, “With all this expansion etc, if higher education has to succeed, the country needs a robust accreditation process and it should be a successful venture.”
More than 33,000 colleges and 10,000 technical institutes are likely to get affected by the decision. At present, because accreditation is not mandatory, only a small percentage (less than 15 percent), of the 612 universities in India are accredited. The lack of accreditation and the rising number of private varsities offering technical and higher education in the country is making it difficult for admission seekers to judge the quality of education that is being provided in these institutes. Prof Dr SS Mantha, Chairman, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), said: “The massive growth in the technical education system in India has spawned the need for quality. Thus, getting courses accredited is also gaining importance.”
Accreditation of educational institutions will make it easy for students to assess the quality of programmes, courses, infrastructure and faculty in an institute. Another advantage is that students who graduate from accredited universities do not face difficulties in getting jobs and are easily chosen by potential employers who are sure that the students have received quality education.
Talking about the new system of accreditation that will add value and quality to education, Dr Mantha said: “Unlike the earlier practice of quality as a measure of inputs that are required to run an institute, the new accreditation process seeks to measure outcomes. Across the world, outcomes are measured to ensure quality. Education has to be student-centric and hence, the value addition that a student gets through education needs to be measured.”
The lack of accreditation and the rising number of private varsities offering technical and higher education makes it difficult for admission seekers to judge the quality of education
According to the the Minister for Human Resource Development, MM Pallam Raju, both the UGC and the AICTE will be preparing benchmarks for the process of accreditation, which will certify the academic quality of an institute. The ministry will be writing to state governments to set up more accreditation bodies that will monitor institutions on these benchmarks.
The AICTE is setting up another agency for accreditation, the Indian Board of Accreditation (IBA), to accelerate the process. The board will accredit and develop quality metrics in a wide variety of courses, said Dr Mantha. The board will help the existing National Board of Accreditation (NBA) in examining higher and technical education institutes. It will follow best practices from different countries across the world and come up with new processes of evaluation.
The education sector in India will certainly welcome the decision of the government to make accreditation mandatory for new and existing institutions but if the unaccredited private players that constitute a major share of participation in technical and higher education in the country, will willingly accept the move lies in ambiguity. Parents spend huge money to ensure that their child receives good education. Therefore, satisfaction in terms of quality of education is what they must get. Continuous review of the institutes by the accreditation organisations every few years is a must.
And, in order to ensure that all the institutes are complying with the required standards and are meeting the acceptable levels of quality, every institute must be made to go through each step of accreditation every time it is reviewed.
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