Is your programme accredited? What you must know
REGISTERED with Government of Haryana”, screams the signboard of Maithili Vishwavidyalaya, a one-room teaching shop offering PhD degrees.
“We are not regulated by AICTE,” says another wannabe IIM. “We are over-regulated, under-governed,” shouts National Knowledge Commission. Let’s now try and extract the meanings behind these diverse terms.
Registered This shows that the institution concerned is registered with the relevant authorities to carry out its intended activities. This could be registration as a society, a firm, or even a business concern. Note: merely being registered with some state or central government registrar of societies does not give an institution the right to offer degrees or diplomas.
Recognised by This is the most abused term. ‘Recognition’ is a catch-all phrase. First, one needs a No-objection certificate (NOC) from the State Education Department to set up a college or educational institution. This NOC is not a recognition. Recognition as a university is accorded only by the government â specifically, by an act of Parliament or through a state legislature. A college can only be affiliated to a university. It cannot be recognised. But a study centre of a university can be recognised as such. And if it is a professional college, it should be approved by the relevant professional regulatory body, in addition to affiliation. Any other word or phrase, such as ‘under the university’, ‘meeting the university requirement’, ‘below the university’, granted certification by state’, and so on are all clever wordplay and quite nonsensical.
Affiliation This is a clear give away. You can be affiliated to only a recognised university. If a college says it is affiliated, then it is recognised as well. But remember, open universities cannot affiliate colleges. If, for instance, the college says it is ‘affiliated to Kota Open University’, it is a lie! It is only a recognised study centre and the degree you get is a correspondence degree.
Approved by This is a quagmire. If it is arts, commerce or science course, or any diploma or certificate course, an affiliation with a university empowers the institute to offer its programmes. But if the institute offers a professional course, then in addition to the state NOC and university affiliation, they also need an approval from relevant professional bodies (see table below). In short, all professional courses, either distance learning, part-time or full-time, need to be recognised by the relevant body. Such approval is not required only in case of professional degrees offered directly by a university in the fields of engineering, hotel management, computer education and architecture. This ruling applies even to a deemed university.
Internationally recognised Remember, a foreign degree, even if internationally recognised, has to be accorded equivalence by Association of Indian Universities (AIU). Know your degree by examining whether it is accredited by some agency in the country of origin and whether the accreditation is applicable to its Indian programme as well.
Established by The only “established by” announcement you should give value to is either the one established by an act of Parliament or by an act of the state legislature. Any other establishment is merely an establishment, even if its patron happens to be the Hon’ble President of India. Remember, this does not apply to deemed universities. They are recognised by University Grants Commission (UGC) as eligible to award degrees in their approved domains.
Accreditation In terms of establishing an institute’s basic credibility, this is the best tool. An accredited institution has been subjected to scrutiny by a team of experts of the organisation mandated to do so. Normally, they are granted grades specifying the levels of quality. You could have reasonable faith in an accredited institution. There are two accreditation bodies in the country, National Accreditation and Assessment Council (NAAC), which is an umbrella body for universities and colleges and, National Board of Accreditation (NBA), a body set up by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to accredit engineering and management colleges.
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