Explained: Accrediting colleges, varsities

What is the news?

The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), an autonomous body under the UGC has released new guidelines allowing colleges and universities that completed just one academic year to apply for provisional accreditation.

Earlier, only those higher education institutions with two batches of graduated students or which had completed six years of existence were eligible to apply for NAAC’s assessment and accreditation.

What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is a quality check exercise.

NAAC conducts accreditation of Higher Educational Institutions (HEI) such as colleges, universities, or other recognized institutions to derive an understanding of the ‘Quality Status’ of the institution.

The accreditation is done based on parameters such as curriculum, faculty, infrastructure, research, and financial well-being among others. 

Based on these parameters, the NAAC gives institutions grades ranging from A++ to C. If an institution is graded D, it means it is not accredited.

What are the benefits of accreditation?

a) helps institutions attract capital b) helps an institution know its strengths and weaknesses and c) helps students going for higher education abroad as many global higher education authorities insist on recognition and accreditation of the institution where the student has studied. 

How many universities and colleges have been NAAC accredited?

There are only 392 universities and 8,483 colleges that were NAAC-accredited. This is because fear of obtaining a poor grading or no accreditation at all holds back higher education institutes from voluntarily applying for evaluation.

To address this issue, UGC launched the Paramarsh scheme in 2019. Under the scheme, some of the best-performing institutes were identified to serve as mentors to at least five institutes aspiring to get accredited.

Source: This post is based on the article “Explained: Accrediting colleges, varsitiespublished in Indian Express on 18th Feb 2022. 

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