Whether you are planning to pursue a course undergrad studies in management, engineering, or medicine or even a post -graduate MBA, a huge amount of money and valuable time is invested in it. Hence, it becomes crucial to ensure that you are choosing the right college.
Applying to an institute of higher education does not end or begin with application form. Before choosing your MBA, Engineering, or Medical College, you look for several important factors such as faculty, infrastructure, location, cost, industry interface, and placement. However, are you checking if the college is an accredited institute? Do you know why college accreditation is important in your educational goal? Here we will talk about this…
While applying for any college for admission, we want to be sure of its credentials. this goes beyond just the reputation of the college. The credentials will depend entirely on the fact if it is is accredited or not.
So, what is accreditation?
College Accreditation- Meaning
Accreditation certifies that a college meets quality standards. For graduating students, accredited colleges and courses offer a platform for a professional career.
In simple words, accreditation is another term for guarantee of quality, official recognition, and general acceptance. The key role of accreditation is to ensure quality and control by adopting a certification system in education and training areas.
As per a recent post on Universityworldnews.com, the government recently announced that accreditation agencies in India would now be completely free of its interferences and run autonomously by experts in a move to improve the quality of institutions offering higher education. “We have made the National Board of Accreditation totally autonomous, and we are in the process of making the National Assessment and Accreditation Council independent”, said Ashok Tharur, the higher education secretary in a world summit on accreditation.
The authorities approved by the University Grants Commission (UGC) recognize or accredit the Universities and colleges in India. The NBA (National Board of Accreditation) accredits programs, while the NAAC accredits educational institutions.
The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) functions under the UGC and is authorized for institution accreditation. All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) grants accreditation to technical colleges, whereas the Medical Council of India (MCI) recognizes medical qualifications and medical colleges. Similarly, the Association of MBAs (AMBA) accredits DBA, MBM and MBA programs at around 210 B-schools in 52 countries.
India has notably 723 universities, 11,356 professional institutions and 37,204 colleges. Despite a large section of students pursuing higher education, only few institutions are rated high in terms of quality parametres. In recent times, Indian government has taken initiatives to create a streamlined mechanism for accreditation to ensure quality higher education.
To ensure that students receive quality education, it is now mandatory for all educational institutions after a large number of institutions flooded NAAC with accreditation pleas last year. Moreover, institutions of higher education and colleges without accreditation will not be eligible to receive funds from the UGC. Thus, financial aid becomes one of the major factors for students to choose accredited institutions.
The importance of accredited institution can be clearly understood by some disadvantages of non-accredited colleges:
- Financial assistance- Those studying in a non-accredited institute cannot apply for any financial aid sponsored by government. Hence, you lose the opportunity to take the advantage of student assistance programs.
- Transfer credits- In case of transfer to any other institute, credits cannot be transferred appropriately. On the other hand, it is possible in case of nationally accredited institutions.
- Employment opportunities- Understanding the importance of accreditation, mostly employers prefer students graduated from accredited institutions only. Therefore, this turns into a major disadvantage if you have earned a degree from a non-accredited institution.
Aicte-india.org provides a list of institutions that conduct technical programs without AICTE Approval. (As on December 5, 2013)
One Accreditation is not enough
Several business schools in India have started following the trend of global accreditation. As per the need of the hour, one accreditation is not enough and they are heading towards triple crown- European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), Association of MBAs (AMBA), and Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
At present, five B-schools in India are accredited to AMBA. These include IIM Lucknow, SP Jain Institute of Management (Mumbai), IIM Kozhikode, IMI Delhi, and Management Development Institute (Gurgaon). This however is a beginning, and with passage of time more of the well known institutes will also go in for some accreditation that makes the comparison useful. For now let us suffice to say that MBA schools do not bother to get accreditation.
Global accreditation helps these institutes to attract international companies for placement, attract international students, exposure, and find place in international ranking.
It is important to select an educational institution by evaluating its accreditation detail through online sources.
Remember, the time and money you are investing in your education is a direct investment in your future!