IITs reject government plan to make them accrediting agencies
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New Delhi: The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have rejected a government suggestion that they play a larger role by becoming accrediting agencies involved in evaluating colleges and universities in the country.
The IITs have instead agreed to help strengthen existing bodies such as the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and the National Board of Accredition (NAB), three government officials said.
The human resource development ministry has been advocating making IITs and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) accrediting bodies to maintain a close watch on the quality of the higher education sector.
The ministry discussed the plan at an IIT council meeting held in Mumbai on Friday. “Yes, we spoke about the proposal. IITs will not be full fledged accrediting body for evaluating institutions,” said one of the three officials, a member of the IIT council.
All three officials declined to be named.
“The IITs will spare some faculties and help the existing bodies instead,” said the second official.
IITs are expanding their research focus and there is also an increasing demand for expanding student capacity, the second official said, adding that to get involved in full fledged non-IIT administrative work would add to their stress. As such, the elite schools are facing a teacher shortage in the range of 10% to 30% at various IITs.
NAAC director D.P. Singh said he had suggested asking the IITs to help the accrediting bodies as “that would lend prestige to the accreditation process”.
NAAC, the apex accrediting body in India, accredits institutions while NAB accredits individual courses.
Singh said NAAC had communicated with the IITs and IIMs, while keeping the ministry in the loop and about 50 professors had committed to helping the organization. He said he was targeting 100 professors from top institutions to help with the process. While some of them could train NAAC staff, others could be experts in evaluation and yet others could develop methodology in sync with the international standards to be adopted in India, he said.
NAAC seeks to evaluate institutions on 130 parameters from July through a new system.
An HRD ministry spokesperson declined to comment.
HRD minister Prakash Javadekar has spoken against the existing system and was in favour of making IITs and IIMs accrediting bodies. “We are going to float an idea in which IITs and IIMs will be asked to become accreditation bodies so that there will be multiple choices in front of the institutes and accreditation will be completed in limited time and we can go for more quality education,” Javadekar said in August 2016.
India has nearly 50,000 colleges and stand-alone institutions, and 789 universities. But less than 25% of them have any kind of accreditation.