New agency set up, HRD set to make accreditation must
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The Human Resource Development Ministry on Friday announced a new accreditation agency under the AICTE and accreditation regulations set to be enforced soon in a bid to make accreditation of educational institutes mandatory.
Currently, institutes can seek accreditation on a voluntary basis. The National Board of Accreditation is the only accreditating agency in the country and is quite overburdened.
With the Accreditation Bill 2010 among the critical education legislations still stuck in Parliament, the ministry appears to be looking at alternative ways to usher in reforms.
Policy makers have for a while been seeking mandatory accreditation of educational institutes and creation of multiple accrediting agencies to make the process faster. These proposals also feature in the National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill, 2010.
"There are 3,800 technical institutions, 3,700 management ones, 3,580 polytechnics... over 60,000 courses are offered in these... The new accreditation body will run parallel to the existing National Board of Accreditation with the same set of functions," HRD Minister Pallam Raju said. It will be called the Indian Board of Accreditation.
Raju announced that the Distance Education Council, so far under IGNOU, will move under the UGC.
A committee to review distance education in India had recommended that being a regulatory body, the council must be dissociated from IGNOU — the largest distance education provider in the country.
The AICTE has announced that engineering courses will also be available in distance mode and will issue guidelines for the same in March 2013.
Students will be able to opt for engineering courses in distance mode provided their first degree (undergraduate degree/diploma) is through a formal education system.