PUNE: The race to get a National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) grade has been increasing day by day, considering that many schemes released by the Central government demand NAAC grades to grant funds for further development. However, the University Grants Commission (UGC) in the last week issued a circular stating that existing capacity for accreditation (NAAC and National Board of Accreditation) is found ‘to be inadequate’ to meet the requirements of the higher educational institutions.
Therefore, UGC has decided to establish more accreditation agencies under the banner of the University Grants Commission (Recognition and Monitoring of Assessment & Accreditation Agencies) Regulations, 2018.
The educationists have agreed that the proportion of colleges to accreditation agencies in the country has an imbalance. A huge number of colleges pour in to apply for NAAC grade each time the agency calls for application. They have welcomed the decision to have more such agencies which fairly evaluates higher educational institutes.
“At least thousands of colleges approach NAAC for its accreditation each time it opens the window for the application. This certainly burdens the accreditation agency. First of all education institutes have to develop their infrastructure to be eligible for NAAC evaluation. Then the college has to apply, after which the NAAC committee takes around six months to a year at times to visit a college and the results are declared within one month. This further delays the process. Meanwhile, these colleges are deprived of the benefits from regulatory bodies or government,” said Prafulla Pawar, Director of Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) of Savitribai Phule Pune University hailing UGC’s decision to increase the number of accreditation agencies.
“It is the need of the hour. Definitely, the government has an inadequate number of accreditation agencies against lakhs of colleges in the country. There are only two accreditation authorities. Besides, the NBA is the only one agency to evaluate all professional courses from engineering to pharmacy and management. There should be a separate body to evaluate these courses as their nature of education is different,” said Gajanan Ekbote, Chairman, Progressive Education Society.
Experts have also expressed that whichever agency is been established, it needs to be well monitored so that no malpractices occur. They have stated that these new agencies should maintain the transparency, quality and credibility. It should have stringent criteria so as to not everyone gets good accreditation. Ekbote also said, “These new agencies should be outsourced by the government. There have been cases previously of malpractices and many have appealed UGC to regulate the existing accreditation agencies and make it transparent.”