The University Grants Commission issued (Recognition and Monitoring of Assessment and Accreditation Agencies) Regulations, 2018 notification. The new notification is expected to prevent the rat race among the private assessment and rating agencies in ranking the Higher Educational Institutions (HEI).
Currently, there are statutory assessment, accreditation and ranking entities like the National Board of Accreditation (NBA), National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), National Institution of Ranking Framework (NIRF) and Distance Education Council of India (DECI). These agencies are either backed by the statutes of the University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) or Union HRD Ministry.
There are also other independent statutory bodies for Chartered Accountants, Company Secretaries, Pharmacy, Nursing, Law and other professions. These agencies take care of maintaining the educational and professional standards in their respective domains.
But, for over more than a decade, private agencies have grown rapidly as assessment and ranking agencies. Several private higher education institutions, whose standards are not very high, figured in the national rankings of these agencies and government-run HEIs ended up much below in the rankings of the private colleges.
It was against this backdrop that the new regulations provide that only the government and semi-government agencies, companies registered under charitable provisions of the Companies Act, 2013, Indian Trusts Act or Indian Societies Registration Act alone are eligible to apply to become Assessment and Accreditation (A&A) agencies.
They also need to take prior approval under the new regulations. Besides, they should also show their professional competency and their operations should not have a conflict of interest. In addition to this, violation of the regulations invites penalties.