Students enrolled in universities and colleges, which do not have accreditation from government-recognised agencies, now run the risk of having to deal with deteriorating quality of education.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has threatened to cut off funding to such institutes if they do not get accredited within the next six months, thus having a direct impact on their infrastructure, research abilities and student facilities.
At present, only around 20% of colleges and 25% of universities in India are accredited.
The compulsory accreditation regulation also means that students will be soon able to make informed choices based on an institute's grade. Accreditation will last for five years and an institute will have to get reaccredited six months before the grade lapses.
In a bid to boost quality of higher education, the gazette notification on the Mandatory Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Educational Institutions Regulations, 2012, states that the institutions will have to apply for accreditation from bodies such as the National Assessment and Accreditation Council or National Accreditation Board. So far accreditation has been voluntary.
The regulations further state that those who fail to get accredited could lose their recognition as higher educational institutions and/or UGC funding.
“This way quality will be ensured,” said HA Ranganath, director, National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). NAAC so far has accredited 178 universities and around 5,000 colleges.
However, the accreditation process may face stumbling blocks with only two agencies to grade thousands of institutes by August.
“We need at least 100 accreditation agencies,” said an education ministry official. “The current regime makes a mockery of the regulation.”