Govt. considers mandatory accredition to improve quality of education
To address the burning issue of lack of quality higher education, the union government is considering making accreditation mandatory for all higher educational institutions. according to HA Ranganath, director of National assessment and accreditation (NAAC). Currently only 5,000 colleges out of over 22,000, and 116 universities out of nearly 600 are accredited.
According to Mr. Rangnath, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has drafted a bill on accreditation if it becomes a law, will make accreditation mandatory for all universities and colleges in the country. He said, ” The institutions will have to maintain a minimum standard of quality education if this happens. ” Pointing out how accreditation is different from routine checks and inspections of institutes, Ranganath said: “The accreditation helps an institution to identify its strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities. It is a facilitating mechanism and helps filling in gaps. Like a personal health check-up informs a person of his well being, accreditation helps educational institutions to assess their performance.”
NAAC is an autonomous subsidiary body of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to assess and accredit institutions of higher education in the country. It follows a three-stage combination self-study and peer review process for accreditation.
On the need of accreditation, Rangnath said: “Today, we hardly have Indian universities in top positions. We have quantity but we are failing on quality. The accreditation will help us in rating the institutions so that students can make a right choice.”
A self and external quality evaluation, Ranganath said, NAAC is a medium to recognise funding mechanisms. “An accredited institute attracts extra grants that help in better infrastructure, and fulfilling other requirements.” He, however, clarified that NAAC is not an inspection. Hence, if a university does not renew its ratings, it is not penalised. “In such a case, the university fails to get extra funds. So, it’s a monetary loss for it,” he said. The colleges having accreditation can get funds for developing as centres with potential for excellence. It also helps in getting autonomous status, he added.
Ranganath highlighted that students are the biggest beneficiaries of accreditation. Besides getting better infrastructure, many reputed foreign universities give admission to students having graduated from accredited colleges. “There is a global recognition,” said the director.