TImes of India | Akshaya Mukul | TNN | May 30, 2016 |
NEW DELHI: The HRD ministry has rejected Niti Aayog’s suggestion to have a private accreditation agency to rate higher educational institutions. The ministry said the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) will continue to do the job of rating institutions. Niti Aayog had suggested that accreditation be done by a private rating agency like Crisil. It had argued that third party accreditation would be fair, transparent and impartial. NAAC is an autonomous institution under the University Grants Commission. Sources said the ministry has also written to the Prime Minister’s Office that accreditation could not be privatized. The ministry has given two arguments against privatization of the accreditation process. One, the ministry said accreditation process was often used by government to understand what ailed a higher education institution. In case of government-run institutions, it said, proper interventions were made on the basis of accreditation. The ministry said the government would find it difficult to make interventions based on accreditation by a private rating agency.
It also cited the instance of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) in which accreditation from NAAC has been made mandatory for all colleges and universities. Any change in rating process by bringing in a private accreditation agency would disrupt the existing system, it added. The ministry has also argued that getting a private rating agency would violate India’s commitment to the Washington Accord of which it is a permanent signatory member since June 2014. India is under obligation that only engineering programmes accredited by its National Board of Accreditation in Tier I institutions are eligible for the recognition by other signatories of the Washington Accord. Tier I institutions are those with the autonomy to review curriculum content and make changes. Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, China, Ireland, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, the UK and the US are signatories to Washington Accord. – Courtesy