Hindustan Times (Bathinda) - - PUNJAB - Nee­lam Pandey nee­lam.pandey@hin­dus­tan­ n

NEW DELHI: Pri­vate sec­tor play­ers may soon get pow­ers to grant ac­cred­i­ta­tion to uni­ver­si­ties, col­leges and other in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing in the coun­try. At present, this func­tion is vested solely with the Na­tional As­sess­ment and Ac­cred­i­ta­tion Coun­cil (NAAC), an au­ton­o­mous in­sti­tu­tion un­der the UGC’s ju­ris­dic­tion.

Of­fi­cial sources said this step could be taken to end the NAAC’s “monopoly” and en­sure trans­parency in the process.

Gov­ern­ment think-tank NITI Aayog had re­cently asked the hu­man re­source de­vel­op­ment (HRD) min­istry to al­low ac­cred­i­ta­tion by re­puted pri­vate play­ers. Sources said the gov­ern­ment was likely to ac­cept its rec­om­men­da­tion. “Just like NAAC, which is a gov­ern­ment body, there will be other pri­vate agen­cies that carry out the work in keep­ing with strict pro­to­cols pre­scribed by the UGC. Uni­ver­si­ties and in­sti­tu­tions will be free to choose which agency they want to ap­proach,” a se­nior HRD of­fi­cial said.

“This will bring in greater trans­parency and re­duce the time taken for ac­cred­i­ta­tion,” the of­fi­cial added. If the rec­om­men­da­tion comes through, the task of iden­ti­fy­ing po­ten­tial pri­vate ac­cred­i­ta­tion agen­cies will be­gin soon, he added. NAAC had sus­pended its ap­pli­ca­tion process in March to carry out an over­haul of its grad­ing sys­tem. The move was ini­ti­ated af­ter com­plaints of sub­jec­tiv­ity in the ac­cred­i­ta­tion process – be­sides al­leged cor­rup­tion and mis­con­duct by peer teams dur­ing field vis­its – emerged from var­i­ous quar­ters.

“At present, we rope in teach­ers from dif­fer­ent in­sti­tu­tions to carry out in­spec­tions for ac­cred­i­ta­tion work. This af­fects their nor­mal rou­tine. As there is an ur­gent need for in­de­pen­dent as­ses­sors who spe­cialise in con­duct­ing ac­cred­i­ta­tion work, pri­vate play­ers should be given an op­por­tu­nity,” said for­mer cab­i­net sec­re­tary TSR Subra­ma­nian.

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