DEHRADUN: Open universities will now be assessed and accredited like regular universities, as the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) plans to put together a committee, named National Task Force(NTF) for the purpose. The vice chancellor (VC) of Uttarakhand Open University, professor Nageshwar Rao, has been chosen to head the committee.
The NTF will convene a national-level meeting with experts and stakeholders before it prepares a manual for the process of accreditation of open-distance learning institutions. Speaking to TOI, Rao said, “Recently, University Grants Commission (UGC) asked NACC to formulate an assessment and accreditation criteria for open and distance learning institutes similar those of regular universities. The UGC (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations 2017 have also been gazetted for this. However, there are no guidelines on how to go about it as of yet, which is why the NTF has been formed. We will hold meetings with the concerned stakeholders, which will be held in Bangalore and Delhi, to devise the guidelines for assessment and accreditation of the open universities. The aim is to maintain the same quality of education in open universities as is imparted in the regular ones.”
Before joining the Uttarakhand Open University in 2016, Rao acted as the VC of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Delhi, and has also held the same post in various other open universities across the country before. Rao added, “It is a proud moment for me now that I have been chosen to head the NTF. At present, they have asked for my consent, following which the NACC will give further details. We will start our work soon.”