Spotlight: India to Revise Institutional and Program Accreditation System

India to Adopt Two-tier Structure for Accreditation

A committee appointed by the India Ministry of Education has released recommendations on how to improve the current institutional and program accreditation system in India. The draft report, “Transformative Reforms for Strengthening Periodic Assessment and Accreditation of All Higher Educational Institutions in India,” is available online, see link below.

Currently, in addition to other organizations focused on institutional accreditation, the National Board of Accreditation (NBA), (an autonomous organization under the Union Ministry of Education) accredits programs in technical disciplines and represents India as a full signatory of the Washington Accord. In addition, the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) does the mandatory annual approval of courses within technical educational institutions, following guidelines in their own AICTE-Approval Process Handbook.

The committee recommends adapting the full accreditation process (including both institutional and program accreditation) for Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) into a two-tier structure with overarching management by a new group, the National Accreditation Council (NAC). While the bulk of the effort relates to institutional accreditation, program accreditation will be impacted by the new system. One of the specific recommendations of the proposed reforms is to “amalgamate Programme-Accreditation and Institution-Accreditation, considering their inter-dependency; and evolve a Composite Assessment System (with due compliance to the accepted conditions of the Washington Accord).”

Further recommendations are to include all HEIs and every program in the newly proposed assessment and accreditation system. In addition, the report recommends bringing the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) under the umbrella of the unified accreditation process, as well as transitioning to a binary accreditation system which focuses on outcomes. The committee has set up a timeline of December 31, 2023 for the transition of a new system.