By Aditya Wadhawan
The Radhakrishnan Committee set up by the Education Ministry, which will be bringing in desired reforms in the accreditation system, has suggested that IITs should be brought under the ambit of a unified accreditation process by the end of the year.
Till now, IITs have not been accredited by an internal committee, but not by the National Accreditation Assessment Council (NAAC). As per the Radhakrishnan Committee’s report which was made public recently, this proposed reform was presented to the Council of IITs in its 55th meeting held in Bhubaneshwar. The committee recommends binary accreditation which means either an institution is ‘accredited’ or ‘not accredited’ instead of the conventional eight-point grading system that NAAC follows. Under the new system, the committee has also called for institutes to be termed as ‘accredited’, ‘not accredited’, and ‘awaiting accreditation’.
Speaking to Education Times, Anil Sahasrabudhe, chairperson, National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), says, “IITs have already been following their internal peer review system. However, as part of strengthening the periodic accreditation and assessment process in the country, the Radhakrishnan Committee constituted by the Ministry of Education, aims to make the internal assessment format for IITs identical to the programme accreditation pattern of the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) and the institutional accreditation pattern of NAAC.”
This would also ensure the inclusion of IITs in the mainstream formal accreditation process that is followed throughout the country for all HEIs. These recommendations are stated in the NEP 2020, which suggests that the higher education system except legal and medical education should come under the ambit of the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI),” says Sahasrabudhe. The inclusion of IITs in the formal accreditation process will also make the process qualitative and this would also become a template for other institutions to qualitatively enhance their internal mechanisms.
“Many IITs have also started to offer non-engineering courses related to humanities, Law and Management in the past which points to the fact that they are aggressively adopting a multidisciplinary approach. Many instances have come to the fore where foreign countries, especially the ones that are in the Middle East are increasingly mandating that Indian students would be employed only if they have graduated from an accredited institution,” adds Sahasrabuddhe.
“The Radhakrishnan Committee’s report envisages that all the data can be collected once a year under the ‘One Nation One Data’ process and validated through a mechanism of crowdsourcing. “This would on one hand create a single source of truth and on the other would reduce the efforts from the institutes for smooth approval, accreditation and ranking purposes,” says Sahasrabudhe highlighting the accreditation system will be a binary process rather than having an eight-point accreditation process,” informs Sahasrabuddhe.
Anil Joseph Pinto, registrar, Christ University, Bangalore, says, “It is a progressive recommendation made by the Radhakrishnan Committee to include IITs in the formal accreditation process. Currently, institutions of excellence like IITs, AIIMS, and IIMs do not have to get accredited, whereas state and private universities mandatorily need to get accredited. However, globally even the most illustrious educational institutions like Harvard, Stanford, and Oxford go through a formal accreditation process both as institutions and for specific professional subjects such as management and engineering.”
Bringing IITs within the purview of accreditation will improve the overall quality of accreditation in India. For instance, the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) assesses all IITs, IIMs, state universities, and private universities as per the same parameters and that is why it has become such a robust ranking system. Bringing IITs within accreditation will also lead to a lot of cross-fertilisation of ideas and practices,” adds Pinto.