Human Resource Development
Highlights of the Bill
- The Bill makes it mandatory for every higher educational institution (other than agricultural institutions) and every programme conducted by it to get accredited by an accreditation agency in order to certify academic quality.
- Assessment of such accreditation has to be made before the institution starts the process of admission to such programmes. Existing educational institutions have to get their accreditation within three years (five years for medical institutions).
- The Bill establishes a National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Education, which shall register and monitor accreditation agencies. These accreditation agencies shall accredit every higher educational institution based on a specified procedure and fees.
- An accreditation agency has to be a non-profit organization, which is controlled by the central or state government.
Key Issues and Analysis
- The Bill, which allows only government controlled agencies to accredit educational institutions, may dilute the objective of creating a healthy competitive environment for quality rating of educational institutions. Countries such as the US, UK and Germany allow both public and private entities to accredit institutions.
- Regulatory bodies are required when the private sector is allowed to provide certain goods and services. Under the Bill, private players cannot register as accreditation agencies. So a regulatory authority for registering agencies may be redundant.
- The Bill allows an institution to appeal to NARA for modification of a rating given by an accreditation agency. This implies that NARA would have to perform the role of an accreditation agency; it may not have the competence to do so.
- Accreditation agencies are required to help institutes to improve their quality and may be penalized for not performing this duty. This may result in conflict of interest. Downgrading of an institution may be seen as admission of failure to improve quality by an agency. As this may invite penalty, agencies may be wary of downgrading institutions.