Panel to Strengthen Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Educational Institutions

The Central Government has established a high-level panel to strengthen the assessment and accreditation of higher educational institutions.

Who are the members of the panel?

  • The committee will be chaired by K Radhakrishnan, chairperson, Board of Governors, IIT Kanpur. He is also chairing the IIT Council Standing Committee.
  • Other members of the committee are:
  1. Mridul Hazarika, vice-chancellor, Mahapurusha Srimanta Sankaradeva Viswavidyalaya, Assam
  2. Bharat Bhasker, Professor, IIM Lucknow and the Joint Secretary, department of higher education, ministry of education

What is the purpose of the panel?

The Committee aims to strengthen the assessment and accreditation processes of Higher Education Institutes in India. It will also be involved in creating a roadmap for the National Accreditation Council (NAC) that was proposed by the NEP, 2020.

Accreditation plays an important role in maintaining quality of higher education institutions. It enables higher education institutions identify their strengths and weaknesses through a review process. This will help them plan and allocate resources for further development. Accreditation also acts as a source of reliable information for students, employers and society about the quality of education provided by the institution.

What is NAC?

The National Accreditation Council (NAC) was proposed by the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 as one of the 4 independent verticals of the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI). The other verticals are National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC), Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) and General Education Council (GEC).

The NEP, 2020 recommended setting up four verticals under the HECI to ensure that the distinct functions of regulation, accreditation, funding and academic standard setting will be undertaken by separate, independent and empowered bodies. This is required to minimise conflict of interest and remove concentration of power.

The primary functions of the proposed NAC are:

  1. Regulation of accreditation of higher education institutes
  2. Oversee and supervise independent institutions involved in the accreditation process based on basic norms, public self-disclosure, good governance and outcomes.
  3. Recognize institutions as accreditors to create a robust system of graded accreditation, which will specify phased benchmarks for maintaining and improving the quality of higher education institutions.

The NAC, along with other independent verticals of HECI, will function based on transparent public disclosure. It will use technologies to reduce human error, improve efficiency and transparency. The NAC and other 3 independent verticals will have members with high-level of expertise in relevant areas as well as a track record of public service. The disputes between the four verticals will be resolved by the HECI.

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