What are University Rankings and Accreditations?
Selecting a university for pursuing higher education is the most important step in your career. However, you need to take a lot of things into consideration while selecting a university. For instance, you need to see if the university’s curriculum is aligned with the latest industry standards, whether or not the university is following a modern pedagogy and more importantly whether the university is well-recognised or not. Afterall everyone wants to study at a reputed institute to get an edge in their academic qualification. It makes a great impact in your further educational or professional life.
You must have noticed that universities are ranked time and again by many ranking & accreditation bodies on the basis of certain parameters. But what are these rankings? And what does “accreditations” mean? How are they relevant? And why must one take them into account while choosing a university? Let’s find out.
Rankings assess and determine the quality of academics offered by a university. Rankings are basically a useful way to compare the different universities and programmes on the basis of a variety of performance indicators. Even though ranking systems may vary in the parameters that they use for evaluation, each of them assesses the overall performance of the institutes and presents their evaluation report in the form of well-researched data. This data is based on the teaching quality, student and staff ratio, student satisfaction, placements and many other factors.
These rankings identify and determine the best universities in different categories such as Management, Architecture, Pharmacy, Research, Teaching Pedagogy, Placement, etc. The most noteworthy ranking system followed in India is the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF). This system was introduced by the Ministry of Education, Government of India to rank higher education institutions in order to differentiate them on several factors and measures. Some other major ranking systems include:
- Times Higher Education World University Rankings
- QS World University Rankings
- Academic Ranking of World Universities
Accreditation can be understood as a “Quality Status” that an institute receives from an evaluating body. The evaluating body confers the status of a given university or school when the respective institute meets the set standards laid by several accrediting agencies.
Accreditation is not a one-time recognition but it is a continuous process through which the quality of programmes offered at a higher education institute is assessed and verified from time to time to see if they continue to meet the norms and standards that are prescribed by a regulatory body.
There are different types of educational accreditations in India. Let us have a look at some of the top accreditation one by one:
- NAAC: The National Assessment and Accreditation Council assesses higher educational institutions such as colleges and universities or other institutions in order to check the quality of the curriculum, teaching process, faculty, governance, and teaching resources. The allocation is approved in the form of grades such as A++, A+ and even down to D grade based on the university’s level of performance.
- NBA: The National Board of Accreditation assesses all the technical programs which include engineering & management UG, PG and diploma courses offered by the universities and institutions. The evaluated programs get approval in the form of grades namely: ‘6 years accreditation’, ‘3 years accreditation’ and ‘not accredited’.
- AICTE: It is the All India Council for Technical Education which assesses and regulates the technical and management universities in India. It is responsible for the planning and development of UG and PG courses in technical and management domains. It also has the authority to grant approval to new technical and management institutions introducing new courses, etc.
- AIU: It is the Association of Indian Universities. It assesses the programs, standards, and syllabi of foreign universities and equates them in relation to various programmes offered by Indian universities.
- DEB: It is the Distance Education Bureau which is a part of the UGC. It assesses and maintains the standards of distance and open learning in India. It also ensures the smooth functioning of distance education in India.
Other than these, there are many other institutions that provide accreditations in India in specific fields of study. They are Bar Council of India (BCI), Dental Council of India (DCI), All India Management Association (AIMA), to name a few.
Why are Rankings & Accreditations Important?
Other than acting as a stamp of approval from the government, rankings and accreditations ensure that the curriculum and teaching practices followed by a given institute are at par with government policies, global education standards and current industry trends. They also act as a quality check of an institute. Some of the things that the given rankings and accreditations help you with are:
- They act as a basis for comparison between multiple higher education institutes
- They give you an idea of the teaching pedagogy followed at a university, whether it follows a traditional research-based approach or a modern practical-based teaching method
- They help you evaluate the future employability prospects of your degree
- Acts as an indicator of what programme and university meets your requirements
What is an Accredited University and Why Should You Choose One?
Accreditation means reviewing the quality of higher education institutions and the programs that they offer. In the process, a group of experts take time to evaluate and assess the universities in order to showcase their position amongst each other. Therefore, an accredited university will be the one which has been fully reviewed and qualified based upon the set standards.
Accreditation benefits both universities and students. An accredited university readily qualifies for eminent grants and funding which can be utilised to better its infrastructure and academic ecosystem. Accreditation also helps the students and parents to compare and choose the right university and further solidifies their trust in the university. Furthermore, an accredited degree has a competitive edge in the job market.
The number of universities offering higher education courses is overwhelming. Therefore, rankings and accreditations become imperative as they help you in choosing the right university which is recognised and delivers approved education programmes. Just remember to always thoroughly research a university and see about its rankings and accreditations before taking admission.