The enforcement of mandatory accreditation by early next year, says Ministry of HRD
Tthe National Accreditation Regulatory Authority (NARA) bill, which has been pending approval for the last two years will now be enforced by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development for both public and private universities. From 2013, accreditation in all higher education institutes in India will be made mandatory. At present, only 15 percent of the institutions in India have opted for accreditation. The new process ensures that students will be able assess universities and colleges on their courses, infrastructure and faculty members, ensuring that the process is transparent. HRD Union Minster, M MPallamRaju announced that the UGC (University Grants Commission) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have been given the task of creating the regulatory framework for the accreditation process. Furthermore, the Ministry has requested that all states in the country set up accreditation councils to assess their institutes on a regular basis. The AICTE will also set up another accreditation body – the Indian Board of Accreditation, which will support the National Board of Accreditation in their inspection of various institutes across the country. This was in response to a need to create another board to support the accreditation process. Over 3,800 technical institutions, 3,700 management institutions, 3,500 polytechnic institutions, 2,400 hospitality institutions and 60 art universities are under the purview of the AICTE. Every year, these institutions approach the Council, either for a renewal in accreditation or for the introduction or expansion of new disciplines and subjects. The AICTE has accredited over 6,000 programs. As per a source from the AICTE, the new process will stretch the entire process out, making the waiting period longer. The AICTE must be prepared to handle these scenarios. The new NARA bill stipulates that existing universities will be given a period of six years within which, they must complete their accreditation. New universities will be allowed to teach the first two batches of students. At this point, it is unclear how the government will enforce the new set of guidelines. The Ministry of HRD unfolded that UGC has the power to cease a department if they do not accord.