Efforts are on to give shape to the proposed State Accreditation and Assessment Council (SAAC), meant for comprehensive assessment of institutes of higher education in the state.
Education Minister P K Abdu Rabb inaugurated a two-day international consultation here on Wednesday in which
experts from national and international accreditation bodies discussed the roles and responsibilities of the SAAC, which is to be set up by the Kerala State Higher Education Council (KSHEC).“Though Kerala leads other states in many areas, we have fallen short of the mark when it comes to education,” the Minister said. “The need of the hour is concrete ideas and proposals to ensure quality in higher education,” he said.
“The setting up of the accreditation body will be a unique attempt by the Kerala Govt to create an institution that will ‘not compete with but supplement and support’ the national body,” T P Sreenivasan, vice-chairman, KSHEC, said.
“Given the size and numbers of our educational institutions, there is a need to set up multiple accreditation bodies for assessing quality,” Sreenivasan said.
“This must happen irrespective of whether the Bill is passed in Parliament or not,” he said, referring to the pending National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institution (NARAHEI) Bill 2010, which seeks to improve the quality of higher educational institutes in the country.
Among its recommendations, the Bill proposes that a number of quality based, independent accreditation agencies be set up.
“At the same time, care must be taken so that competition between the multiple bodies do not lead to corruption and commercialisation,” Jagannath Patil, President of Asia Pacific Quality Network (APQN), said. He was speaking on the present scenario and the need for accreditation bodies in India. “While there are over 35,000 institutions in India, only around 6,000 have been accredited by the present National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC),” he said.
The two-day consultation also saw the participation of officials from international bodies such as The Hague, Netherlands; Commission for Academic Administration (CAA), Abu Dhabi and Quality Assessment and Accreditation Council, Sri Lanka.
“This is to ensure that the new body formed would be in step with the rest of the world,” Sreenivasan said.
“It should conform with the best international accreditation practices followed,” he said.