New Delhi: Bhushan Patwardhan, the chairman of the executive committee of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), has resigned shortly after writing to the University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman that several “crucial measures” to rein in corruption were “taken very casually”, according to the Times of India.
NAAC is a government organisation that assesses and accredits higher education institutions (HEIs). The autonomous body, funded by the UGC, has been plagued with allegations of malpractices and corruption.
TOI said that this is the first time that a NAAC executive chairman has resigned. M. Jagadesh Kumar, the UGC chairman, accepted Patwardhan’s letter, the report adds.
In February, Patwardhan had demanded an independent national-level inquiry against NAAC, “pointing to deep-seated problems that need weeding out”, according to TOI, which said that the proposal may now be shelved. The newspaper said that Patwardhan’s resignation comes after his appeals were not heeded.
In the letter, Patwardhan said:
“On receiving various complaints from the stakeholders, and review committee reports, I had expressed my apprehensions earlier about the possibility of vested interests, malpractices, and nexus among the persons concerned, offering thereby a green corridor by presumably manipulating ICT, DVV and PTV (reports based on which assessment is carried out and grades awarded) processes leading to the awarding of questionable grades to some HEIs.”
Malpractices include institutes using expired NAAC grades, plagiarising self-study reports and claims that grades could be purchased.
These malpractices became evident last year, when TOI reported that little-known private institutions had higher NAAC scores than the Institute of Science, which was the country’s top-ranked university in 2022.
The parliament was told in February that 695 universities and 34,734 institutions in India did not have accreditation at all.