Saturday, April 07, 2012

Include engineering, med degrees in National Academic Depository: Panel

A parliamentary panel has raised questions on the effectiveness of the proposed National Academic Depository (NAD), recommending that a regulatory framework along the lines of the Unique Identification Authority (UID) be established and all courses, including professional streams like medical and engineering, be included under the ambit of the law.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development (HRD), headed by Congress MP Oscar Fernandes, which tabled its report recently, also recommended that provision of allowing disputes to be resolved by the National Educational Tribunal should be reviewed since the tribunal was only mandated to handle higher education cases.

The NAD Bill provides for the maintenance of a national database of academic awards like degrees, diplomas, certificates given by universities, colleges and school boards in electronic format in a depository. This is expected to eliminate fraudulent practices such as forging of certificates and marksheets by facilitating online verification. Students seeking jobs or pursuing further studies require a credible and easy mechanism to access and verify academic awards by various authorities. The depository is expected to resolve these issues in a quick and effective manner.

The panel has advocated that besides school boards and universities, professional awards like medical, engineering, architecture, chartered accountants and others be included. So far, 39 bodies, including CBSE and National Institute of Open Schooling, are included. The panel said that if professional degrees and diplomas were not included, it would lead to a situation where individuals holding high professional qualifications will be unable to use this service.

Observing that the data handled and maintained by NAD was "crucial and sensitive", the report said, "When a National Identification Authority can be mandated for establishing, operating and maintaining of a central repository, a similar authority can well be mandated to have the responsibility of handling the affairs of the NAD." It reasoned that a regulatory framework will assist in verification of the academic award. The panel has also sought a review on the process of settling disputes.

Source: The Times of India, April 7, 2012

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