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Improving School Education through Accreditation
The next time you are reading the silent features of a school before enrolling or recommending to a friend, it is time you look for the NABET certification. The National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET) is an accreditation body that is supervised by the Quality Council of India (QCI), an autonomous body set up by the Government of India, to establish an accreditation structure and promote quality in schools. Just how important it is to study in an accredited college, it is the similar procedure that NABET asks from schools though the concept is yet to become popular among Indian schools.
The accreditation criteria were re-launched in September 2008. Currently, about 10 schools have the NABET certification and about 50 institutions are undertaking the process of accreditation.
NABET reviews parameters such as governance, educational and support process, curriculum, examination and assessments, infrastructure, health and safety.
The accreditation certifies if the school has met the prescribed qualitative standards within the terms of the school’s own stated philosophy and objectives.
Explaining about the popularity of an accredited school, Vipin Sahni, Director, NABET, says internationally it is a well-known concept. “We have Non-Resident Indians asking information on such schools. Accreditation would create a new benchmark as well as enable upcoming schools to achieve holistic standards,” says Mr. Sahni.
QCI, in turn, is mobilising schools on the importance of the accreditation. According to Mr. Sahni, Kerala, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh have been forthcoming to adopt the criteria across the State. “Besides approaching the CBSE or ICSE, we are in the process of asking the States to introduce it as a State-level decision. It is a slow but a steady process. We have already approached 14 States,” he says.
When National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), an autonomous institution established by the University Grants Commission (UGC), was established in 1994, it also faced similar teething problems. “Accreditation was an alien concept in the higher education sector.
We struggled and campaigned to bring an awareness. The first institution that came forward for the process was after four years of our launch,” says Jagannath Patil, Deputy Advisor (Southern Region), NAAC. The journey continues. Only 25 per cent of institutions have been covered; south India is more receptive than some States in north India, he says.
Mr. Patil says there are similar accreditation bodies and if schools were to go for it, it becomes easy at the higher education level.
Schools that already have the accreditation say the process is healthy where they do not look at the documents but a whole gamut of issues that a child, parent, teacher and management needs to provide for a holistic growth.
T.I. Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Chennai went through the process for around a year and says the beauty in the process is that it makes one achieve new levels by setting up goals.
Sheela Raghavan, principal, recalls some of the tasks that made NABET different. Unlike companies where everything happens very systematically, it is not the case in schools. The complete handling mechanism was fine-tuned, she says. “Health and safety was a new model where we had to identify hazardous areas,” she says.
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