Quality of Higher Education in India

The national assessment and accreditation council (NAAC), established in 1994, is responsible for setting of standards of higher education institutions in India as an external quality assurance (EQA)agency. Till recently, not many institutions have approached NAAC for accreditation. We do not have enough empirical evidence to say whether there has been any change in quality of the institutions that have approached NAAC.  Quality assurance and role, nature and mandate of QA agencies, what they do and what they achieve, how it affects the institutions and whether the spending on the exercise of QA at the central/state and institutional level is worth it, can be addressed only by taking up a study in this area.  The broad objectives of this research study are to understand how the EQA agencies impact the higher education institutions and programmes; to analyse the structure and function of IQA at the institutional level; to assess how EQA and IQA enhance quality at the institutional level.  The research questions relate to the relationship between EQA system and IQA system, with focus on input, output and outcome; effect of EQA on the functioning of the University/affiliated college; organisation of IQA across selected subjects and interaction of IQA cells (IQAC) with departments; nature of feedback from IQA cells to the departments and colleges; effect of EQA on quality in terms of students’ learning.

This study follows a descriptive research design and interpretive approach, with substantial focus on interviews and questionnaire survey with faculty, administrators, and students; analysis of documents such as annual quality assurance reports, self-study reports submitted to NAAC, peer review reports of the institutions; analyses of student-related data maintained at the IQAC at the institutions.

Five universities in the 2nd or subsequent cycle of NAAC accreditation and an accredited college affiliated with each of the selected universities have been selected from five states. Three-member research teams in each state have been constituted, with faculty from each of the selected institutions.  The study has been launched with the first research methodology workshop of the research teams from Mysore University, Karnataka; Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalay, Madhya Pradesh; North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Meghalaya; Mohanlal Sukhadia University, Rajasthan; and Osmania University, Telangana. 

Project Coordinator/Principal Investigator: Dr. Anupam Pachauri