Stating that one agency cannot handle the accreditation of 38,000 colleges across the country, Union Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar said that the government aims to create at least 10-20 more accreditation agencies in the near future. The minister, who was speaking at an event at Indira Group of Institutes on Saturday, said that the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) can only grade 1,000 colleges in a year, while there are at least 38,000 colleges in the country.
“If the NAAC alone is expected to do their accreditation, then it will take 38 years and that’s why we have requested IITs and IIMs to act as accreditation agencies. They are government and not private institutions and have a good student support system too. By creating more agencies, we are making the process speedy, increasing options for colleges and ensuring that no malpractices take place,” Javadekar said, adding that a meeting is scheduled with the directors on Tuesday.
In his address to students, where he spoke on a variety of subjects from quality education being the need of the day to aptitude-based education, Javadekar gave the examples of Indian women sportspersons who excelled in Olympics, stating that not only were they an example of the unrealised potential of Indian women, but also congratulated their parents to allow them to make a career in sports which was considered a man’s forte.
Javadekar, who was sent many questions by students of the campus, amongst which was a question on low international rankings, replied that the rankings of premier institutions were affected by a perception handicap. “When we studied the international ranking framework, we realised that 40 percent marks are based on perception alone. That’s why one of our focus areas is winning the perception battle and for this purpose, we are going to involve our vast Indian diaspora settled abroad. Besides that, getting more foreign students to Indian universities is going to be another strategy to address this perception gap,” Javadekar said.
Pointed out that foreign students have often complained about the problems they face in India, the minister said that they are separately studying these problems and will soon come out with solutions. Making the ‘brain-drain to brain-gain’ idea of the Centre a major part of his speech, Javadekar said that the government is addressing it by promoting research and entrepreneurship in students, giving examples of campus start-ups with hostel rooms working as business addresses and starting industry-academia participation through RUSA scheme, with the industry coming to universities with specific research requests partly funded by the government.
Speaking about brain gain, Javadekar spoke of vacancies in teaching positions in IITs, and said that directors had been told to go abroad and identify alumni and invite them to return to India on teaching positions. “We will create the research atmosphere and give them monetary support which attracts them abroad,” said the minister emphasising that India now needs to do what China did a decade ago. The minister, who had been stressing on quality education being the top priority of his ministry, said that the draft of the proposed new National Education Policy was online and invited suggestions from people until September 30. “Every house has a stake in education, you must all send your thoughts to me,” he said.
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