Confused between which course and institution to go to? Very soon, India’s premier technical institutes, including Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and the Indian Institute of Science (IIS) will be accredited and rated according to their areas of strength.
Along with the institutions, each department in the institutions will also be ranked. For instance, a student will get information to choose between the mechanical engineering departments at IIT-Delhi and IIT-Bombay.
The rating will be done by agencies that will be created under a legislation being drafted by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry.
The National Authority for Regulation in Accreditation of Higher Educational Institutions Bill, 2009, will accredit and rate all higher educational institutions in India, including distance education systems.
The Bill makes it mandatory for every higher educational institute and every programme of study to be accredited. Central and state universities, deemed universities, colleges and even polytechnics will be covered by the rating agencies.
This means that every institution will have to satisfy minimum conditions in terms of infrastructure, teacher-pupil ratio, learning and research, curriculum, assessment procedures, faculty strength and teaching outcomes.
HRD Minister Kapil Sibal had said that the Bill was necessary to ensure quality across institutions and crack down upon fake and sub-standard institutions and universities.
India already has a National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) for universities. However, since accreditation was not compulsory, NAAC was able to accredit only 148 of the 480 universities and 3,941 of the 22,000 colleges in the country.
According to the draft legislation, the National Authority will develop and regulate the process of accreditation, which will take place through multiple rating agencies.
“Since the number of institutions to be covered is so huge, one agency cannot cope with the load. So multiple agencies, which are registered with the National Authority, will be empowered to undertake accreditation,” said a senior HRD Ministry official, who did not want to be named.
The National Authority will in turn accredit and keep a check on the rating agencies.
The Bill states that only an eminent academician with at least 20 years of experience can hold the post of chairperson of the Authority.