Accreditation systems have been in existence for quite some time now and today, the debate is not so much about whether they should exist or not but how should one reach an understanding for defining common denominators to signify quality.
The education sector has witnessed massive expansion during the last decade. The growing social demand for higher education and a rapidly developing economy has put a huge emphasis on the need for qualified human resources. One of the growing concerns worldwide is the maintenance of quality in education considering the humongous growth rate that the education sector is experiencing in both developed and developing countries. Several stakeholders have turned to strengthening the existing accreditation systems and setting up new ones in order to tackle the issue.
Accreditation systems have been in existence for quite some time now and today, the debate is not so much about whether they should exist or not but how should one reach an understanding for defining common denominators to signify quality. The other debate is the functions that accreditation should fulfil. Should it be a measure of whether an educational institution is meeting the minimum acceptable standards or should it be used as a tool to inspire educational institutions to strive for excellence? Both the debates have merit in the present context.
The debates display a requirement for methodology and procedures of the accreditation systems to be thoroughly evaluated and whetted. It is imperative to formulate a mechanism which is a true representation of quality of an institution at all levels. A wider participation of all stakeholders in the debate therefore, would prove extremely fruitful to get a better perspective on the way forward.
Checks and balances are a part of every system. They play a crucial role in the development of a trustworthy, clear and transparent structure which can then become a strong foundation. Accreditation systems can very well play the crucial role of these checks and balances. All that is required is will power on the part of educational institutions and policymakers to work together and create an enabling atmosphere where quality education can thrive.
Dr. Chenraj Roychand
President, Jain University Trust