New Delhi: The Union government plans to reduce the importance of field inspection of colleges and universities and instead rely more on self-disclosures before granting accreditation.

The human resource development (HRD) ministry is trying to create an enabling environment where organized inspection by regulators will come down.

Instead of the HRD ministry-run National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) sending expert teams for inspection and relying on their field visit report for granting accreditation, educational institutions are now required to disclose their claims on an online platform.

The move is expected to reduce subjectivity in institution evaluation and restrict use of unfair means in getting higher grades despite poor quality of the teaching-learning environment.

The move will be part of the proposed plan to revamp the NAAC, the apex accreditation body that accredits colleges and universities in India. NAAC has been facing criticism for poor rigour and subjectivity.

“NAAC has embarked in revising its Assessment and Accreditation Framework. The revised framework would be more ICT enabled and is expected to come into effect from July 2017," NAAC director D.P. Singh said in a circular posted on the official website. The expert field visits which are now a key criterion for grading and accrediting institutions is expected to get only 20% weightage.

As part of the restructuring, NAAC has already stopped accrediting institutions beginning 1 April.

The new accreditation process will kick in beginning July.

The move follows HRD minister Prakash Javadekar expressing unhappiness over the current functioning of NAAC and how it gives very high grades to even some of the institutions which are perceived poor in their education outcome.

However, all applications received prior to 1 April will be assessed via the old methodology that predominantly uses field visit reports by expert teams.

An HRD ministry official said that Javadekar has already expressed his “willingness to rope in top institutions like IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) and IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) for the accreditation process to clip the wings of NAAC".

“Education policy makers and regulators should stop suspecting that everyone is doing wrong. Create an enabling environment in education sector and some are falling behind in quality then take action against them," said Harivansh Chaturvedi, director of Birla Institute of Management and Training.