New accreditation process for engineering colleges in India


During the early February 2012, the National Board of Accreditation has given out a strong message in India that quality of education based on the outcome will be a part of the accreditation requirements in the near future.

NBA for a strict accreditation system

NBA had made it clear that various important factors related to the technical education will come under closer inspection and only those institutions that meet the established criteria will be given accreditation. It also said that a new accreditation manual has been developed for the institutions to understand and follow quality enhancement measures. Official from the board said that the new accreditation system is purely based on the outcome and is centred on various aspects such as quality, competence and employability of the participants. This is as part of an attempt to meet the international quality standards for professional education.

The need for such an accreditation system

The new accreditation system became necessary as a result of the rise in migration of professionals and movement of the students. As a result globally accepted accreditation procedures need to be introduced so that there will be a uniform code of standards among the countries. The board has decided to enhance the quality checks as India, a developing economic power, cannot afford to be behind other developed countries in terms of quality of education.

Based on the new accreditation system, all the technical education institution has to register with the board through online. For every registering institution, a separate folder will be created. Once the registration process is complete the information provided cannot be altered. It is announced that the online registration process will start on March 2012. Once the registration is complete, the evaluation process will be commenced.

Accreditation to be more transparent and credible

Sources from the National Board of Accreditation made it clear that no member or official of the board will be involved in the accreditation process and this is expected to bring in credibility and transparency in the process of accreditation. More over it will also out an end to conflict of interest if any. The evaluators in the accreditation process will be subjected to thorough orientation programme by the board. The evaluators will be selected from a list of interested experts and faculty who express their interest to be a part of the accreditation process via online.

The new accreditation system is on the wake of joining the Washington Accord as a permanent member.

What it focus on?

It is said that the system will concentrate on the capability and competency of the engineering graduates in managing real life engineering problems. It will also look into the importance various courses that are being offered by the engineering colleges currently. In order to take the system forward the National Board of Accreditation will join hands with various other accreditation bodies and enter into foreign accords. This would ensure mutual acceptance of professional qualifications provided in India so that Indian students would be accepted on a global basis.

Permanent member of Washington Accord

According to D K Paliwal, Member Secretary, National Board of Accreditation, it is very essential for India to become a permanent member of Washington Accord. This will ensure that we are in the league which place importance on the quality of education.

Once India becomes a member of Washington Accord, the Indian students will be evaluated in par with the students from different developed countries across the globe based on global standards set by the accord in the case of various courses. The Washington Accord is an association of 13 developed nations that have joined hands to develop international accreditation standards. Thus by signing the memorandum of understanding India too will become a part of this association based on common international standards. This is great advantage for students who wish to pursue post graduate programmes abroad and for professionals who wish to work abroad. By joining the accord the degree earned by the students and professionals will be accepted by foreign institutions and organizations. At present India is a provisional member of the Accord and must have its own accreditation standards analyzed to be in par with the international standards. Now the National Board of Accreditation is working on developing accreditation norms for various courses that are offered by institutions in India. The board plans to provide a draft of the manual in the area of management education in order to get feedbacks from all the stake holders. So there will be different accreditation standards for different courses such as pharmacy, engineering etc.

Quality and quantity to go hand in hand

Since there is an explosion in the number of technical education institutions, there is an increasing need to check quality in addition to quantity. Even though quantity is also important, both should go hand in hand for the international acceptance of our education programmes.

The official sources from the board have said that workshops will be organized across the country to create awareness among the educational institutions on the new accreditation system and the importance of quality as a parameter in the new system. More over it is very important for the technical education institutions to understand the importance of such assessments and the role of such assessments in the improvement of quality. It is said that new accreditation system will have periodic assessments to ensure continuous adherence by the institutions to quality standards set by the National Board of Accreditation.

In India there has been a concern over the declining quality of higher education, with more than 80 per cent of the Indian graduates considered unemployable by the industry. More over the global ranking of higher education institutions in terms of various criteria included only one institute from India, the IIT Bombay. Even though we have many IITs and IIMs, only one could make it to the list. So in terms of global recognition, we are far behind and let us hope that the new accreditation system by the NBA will help in improving the quality of the Indian technical education and thus more and more institutions will find place in the forthcoming global rankings.



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