‘Accreditation: institutions must take lead’

Published - November 12, 2014 09:11 am IST - CHENNAI:

NAAC director A.N. Rai addresses a conference on Tuesday — Photo: K. Pichumani

NAAC director A.N. Rai addresses a conference on Tuesday — Photo: K. Pichumani

A year-and-a half into his tenure as director of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), A.N. Rai says the process of an institution getting accredited has become far more streamlined.

“A lot of the processes are now automated and this has cut down waiting time by 3-4 months. We have also set up a central processing unit to look at all applications before they are passed on to regional coordinators,” he said.

Though the number of applications to NAAC has increased five-fold – about 5,000 a year now — their human resources have remained the same, said Prof. Rai. “We have submitted a detailed project report for the strengthening and expansion of NAAC in four phases over the course of four years. We have received in-principal clearance, and the report is with the ministry now and we are hoping we receive it soon, as it will take us some time to implement,” he said.

Prof. Rai was speaking on the sidelines of the third international conference on ‘Ethics and responsible conduct of researchers and beyond,’ held at Sri Ramachandra University (SRU) in collaboration with the University of Miami under a collaborative international training initiative on Tuesday.

With animal experimentation and clinical trials being critically looked at lately, the conference aimed at creating more awareness on research ethics and train researchers in India-specific and international guidelines on ethics.

An India-specific curriculum that was developed was translated into Tamil and released at the conference.

Taking care of the accreditation of 40,000 institutions, not to mention programmes, is a mammoth task and more specialised accreditation agencies are urgently needed, Prof. Rai said.

“One area of concern is that somehow, our institutions still do not understand that they should come forward for accreditation. There is a culture of deception at some universities – they try to show us they have resources and facilities when they do not. This could become a serious concern as, ultimately, the students are affected,” he said.

At the conference, Paul Braunschweiger, director, CITI program, University of Miami, Sergio Litewka, also of the University, S.P. Thyagarajan and JSN Murthy of SRU and several others participated.

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