Monday, January 27, 2014

NAAC flooded with accreditation pleas

Top universities and institutions of the country are making a beeline to National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). Institutions of higher learning like Delhi University; Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi; School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi; Anna University, Chennai; Indian Institute of Science and National Law School from Bangalore; Jadavpur University, Kolkata; and Assam University, Silchar among 2,978 others have sent their letter of intention (LoI) to the accreditation agency between January 19, 2013 to December 19, 2013.

Under Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) --- or literally translated into English as "National Higher Education Campaign" --- it has become mandatory for government run higher education institutions to get accreditation to receive funding. Major part of the funding of government higher education institutions has been taken over by RUSA from University Grants Commission (UGC) last year.

This is the highest number of LoIs received by NAAC, as earlier the agency used to get anything around 800 requests annually. Region wise the highest number of applications are from east and northeast, while in as a state Bihar has the largest number of participations.

"Yes, there has been an unprecedented rush of LoIs for this cycle of accreditation process. One of the reasons could be because accreditation has been made mandatory and also linked to funding under RUSA's provision. But it is not mandatory for all accreditations to be done by NAAC as there are plans for multiple accreditation agencies in the country," said Director, NAAC, Prof. AN Rai.

With increased applications, according to Rai, "The first priority is to strengthen the headquarter in Bangalore and then decentralise the process of college level accreditation process. The headquarter would deal with the university level accreditation and training of assessors. We are planning five regional offices, the first to start in North and will operate from DU. The regional centres will be responsible for the assessment process - right from receiving the LoI to Institution Eligibility Qualification Assessment, followed by self study report to visit by the expert. Only the final approval of the grading will be done in Bangalore by the executive committee."

Speaking about the trends of application, Rai said: "We presumed that number of applications from the northeast, but are pleasantly surprised as we got a healthy 109 applications. Moreover, east and northeast combined have the largest number of LoIs, which is 826." Following Bihar (280) in terms of states with largest applications are Madhya Pradesh (278), Tamil Nadu (238), Karnataka (217) and Rajasthan (193). Nine universities and nine colleges have applied from Delhi.

Apart from the above mentioned names, other major universities and institutions include Defense Institute of Advanced Technology, Pune; Ambedkar University, Delhi; Madurai Kamrak University, Madurai; Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore; Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai; DY Patil University, Mumbai; Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra; and Manipur University, Imphal.

Source: The Times of India (Online Edition), January 27, 2014

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