Top institutes to mentor weak counterparts

Getting their act together

The Centre has rolled out a scheme wherein top-rated public and private higher education institutions will help their underperforming counterparts sharpen up their act.

Under ‘Paramarsh’ scheme, the University Grants Commission (UGC) will provide funds to mentor institutions to conduct various programmes and activities to help mentee institutions improve their performance.

The mentors will identify at least five institutions that require help. They will also help the mentee institutions in getting accredited by government agencies. So far, only 39% of a total of 903 universities and 20% of 40,000 colleges have been assessed and certified for quality and standards by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and the National Board of Accreditation (NBA).

The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry hopes to get all universities and colleges accredited by 2022 through the implementation of ‘Paramarsh’ scheme, launched by HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank recently.

Lack of resources with NAAC and NBA has been cited as one of the reasons behind the slow pace of accreditation of higher education institutions. Accreditation of a higher education institution by these two government agencies is a stamp of approval for its quality and standards, assessed on a range of parameters, including feedback from students.

“The mentor and mentee can be a government/aided/private/self-financing institution,” the Paramarsh scheme stipulates. A higher education institution accredited by NAAC as Grade ‘A’ with an overall score of 3.26 and above will be eligible to serve as a mentor and receive grants from UGC.

“Since these grants will be utilised for mentoring the institutions and not for creating any infrastructure, private institutions can also receive the funds, as they do so for student and teacher-centric schemes,” a UGC official said.

The duration of the project will be one year which can be extended up to two years. The experts or resource persons for the implementation of the project can be drawn not only from full-time faculty members of the respective mentor institutions but also from the industry. Mentor institutions can also engage retired faculty on their teams.

The proposals from top-rated institutions willing to mentor underperforming ones will be assessed by “a duly constituted committee”. The UGC will approve the proposals on the basis of the recommendation of the committee.

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