The Tamil Nadu State Academic Audit and Accreditation Council (TNSAAC) will guide and facilitate establishment of Internal Quality Assessment Cells (IQAC) in all universities and colleges for self-evaluation and continuous monitoring to uphold standards in higher education, said S.P. Thyagarajan, chairman, Tamil Nadu State Academic Audit and Accreditation Council (TNSAAC).

At a regional orientation meet held recently at Bharathiar University, which already has an IQAC in place, the TNSAAC team deliberated upon the structure and functions of the accrediting body in the presence of college principals.

Set up with the objective of increasing enrolment in higher education and improving the quality, the TNSAAC team told the principals that internal quality assessment was essential to improve and maintain quality.

TNSAAC will start accrediting arts and science colleges and education colleges in January 2011, beginning with institutions that have not obtained accreditation from National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).

TNSAAC will use the services of 400 NAAC-trained experts in the State to conduct inspections in colleges. The three-member peer team will have an expert from outside the State, Prof. Thyagarajan said.

The colleges will be required to submit Annual Quality Assessment Reports and will have to undertake quality assurance and enhancement activities through the IQACs in curriculum innovation, teaching-learning process and examinations reforms.

Nationwide, as of September 2010, 159 universities and 4,171 colleges were accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council.

In Tamil Nadu, 62 out of 69 government colleges, 129 out of 162 government-aided colleges, and 40 out of 498 self-financing colleges are NAAC-accredited. Out of the 729 colleges, only 231 are accredited.

TNSAAC members are in the process of conducting orientation programmes in universities to sensitise stakeholders about the council. TNSAAC will serve as an approving and monitoring body and a nodal agency for other accrediting bodies established by the Central government.

S. Baskaran, Member-Secretary, TNSAAC, said that though the State was at an advantageous position in the national average of enrolment ratio, it still had a long way to go.

“Raising the bar for institutions lacking in quality is the need of the hour. This is essential not only to compete with the best of Indian institutions but also with those abroad,” he said.

P. Thirumalvalavan, registrar, Bharathiar University, said that there was a general perception that only 30 per cent of arts and science graduates were employable, compared to their engineering counterparts. As colleges strive for quality by working on the inputs and processes, the output will improve. Quality education is the key to sustenance, he said.

Hereafter, it will be mandatory for arts, science and educational colleges to be accredited by TNSAAC. And, every institution should have to get its Annual Quality Assurance Report approved by the council and the same should be uploaded on the institution's website as per the guidelines of TNSAAC.

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