In pursuance of its Action Plan for performance evaluation, assessment and accreditation, and quality up-gradation of institutions of higher education, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), Bangalore proposes that every accredited institution should establish an Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) as a post-accreditation quality sustenance measure. Since quality enhancement is a continuous process, the IQAC will become a part of the institution’s system and work towards the realization of the goals of quality enhancement and sustenance. The prime task of the IQAC is to develop a system for conscious, consistent, and catalytic improvement in the overall performance of institutions. For this, during the post-accreditation period, it will channel all efforts and measures of the institution towards promoting its holistic academic excellence.
The work of the IQAC is the first step toward the internalization and institutionalization of quality enhancement initiatives. Its success depends upon the sense of belongingness and participation it can inculcate in all the constituents of the institution. It will not be yet another hierarchical structure or a record-keeping exercise in the institution. It will be a facilitative and participative voluntary system/unit/organ of the institution. It has the potential to become a vehicle for ushering in quality enhancement by working out planned interventionist strategies to remove deficiencies and enhance quality like the “Quality Circles” in industries.
The primary aim of IQAC is
- To develop a system for conscious, consistent, and catalytic action to improve the academic and administrative performance of the institution.
- To promote measures for institutional functioning towards quality enhancement through internalization of quality culture and institutionalization of best practices.
IQAC shall evolve mechanisms and procedures for
- Ensuring timely, efficient, and progressive performance of academic, administrative, and financial tasks;
- The relevance and quality of academic and research programmes;
- Equitable access to and affordability of academic programmes for various sections of society;
- Optimization and integration of modern methods of teaching and learning;
- The credibility of evaluation procedures;
- Ensuring the adequacy, maintenance, and proper allocation of support structure and services;
- Sharing of research findings and networking with other institutions in India and abroad.
The functions of the IQAC are
- Development and application of quality benchmarks/parameters for various academic and administrative activities of the institution;
- Facilitating the creation of a learner-centric environment conducive to quality education and faculty maturation to adopt the required knowledge and technology for participatory teaching and learning process;
- Arrangement for feedback response from students, parents, and other stakeholders on quality-related institutional processes;
- Dissemination of information on various quality parameters of higher education;
- Organization of inter and intra-institutional workshops, seminars on quality-related themes, and promotion of quality circles;
- Documentation of the various programs/activities leading to quality improvement;
- Acting as a nodal agency of the Institution for coordinating quality-related activities, including adoption and dissemination of best practices;
- Development and maintenance of institutional database through MIS for the purpose of maintaining /enhancing the institutional quality;
- Development of Quality Culture in the institution;
- Preparation of the Annual Quality Assurance Report (AQAR) as per guidelines and parameters of NAAC, to be submitted to NAAC.
IQAC will facilitate/contribute
- Ensure a heightened level of clarity and focus in institutional functioning towards quality enhancement;
- Ensure internalization of the quality culture;
- Ensure enhancement and coordination among various activities of the institution and institutionalize all good practices;
- Provide a sound basis for decision-making to improve institutional functioning;
- Act as a dynamic system for quality changes in HEIs;
- Build an organized methodology of documentation and internal communication.
Composition of the IQAC
IQAC may be constituted in every institution under the Chairmanship of the Head of the institution with heads of important academic and administrative units and a few teachers and a few distinguished educationists and representatives of local management and stakeholders.
The composition of the IQAC is as follows.
The membership of nominated members shall be for a period of two years. The IQAC should meet at least once in every quarter. The quorum for the meeting shall be two-thirds of the total number of members. The agenda, minutes, and Action Taken Reports are to be documented with official signatures and maintained electronically in a retrievable format.
It is necessary for the members of the IQAC to shoulder the responsibilities of generating and promoting awareness in the institution and to devote time to working out the procedural details.
The role of the coordinator
The role of the coordinator of the IQAC is crucial in ensuring the effective functioning of all the members. The coordinator of the IQAC may be a senior person with expertise in quality aspects. She/he may be a full-time functionary or, to start with, she/he may be a senior academic /administrator entrusted with the IQAC as an additional responsibility. Secretarial assistance may be facilitated by the administration. It is preferable that the coordinator may have sound knowledge about the computer, its various functions, and its usage for effective communication.
Operational Features of the IQAC
Quality assurance is a by-product of ongoing efforts to define the objectives of an institution, have a work plan to achieve them, and specify the checks and balances to evaluate the degree to which each of the tasks is fulfilled. Hence devotion and commitment to improvement rather than mere institutional control is the basis for devising procedures and instruments for assuring quality. The right balance between the health and growth of an institution needs to be struck. The IQAC has to ensure that whatever is done in the institution for “education” is done efficiently and effectively with high standards. In order to do this, the IQAC will have to first establish procedures and modalities to collect data and information on various aspects of institutional functioning.
The coordinator of the IQAC and the secretary will have a major role in implementing these functions. The IQAC may derive major support from the already existing units and mechanisms that contribute to the functions listed above. The operational features and functions discussed so far are broad-based to facilitate institutions toward academic excellence and institutions may adapt them to their specific needs.
The institutions need to submit yearly the Annual Quality Assurance Report (AQAR) to NAAC. A functional Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) and timely submission of Annual Quality Assurance Reports (AQARs) are the Minimum Institutional Requirements (MIR) to volunteer for the second, third, or subsequent cycle’s accreditation. During the institutional visit the NAAC peer teams will interact with the IQACs to know the progress, functioning as well quality sustenance initiatives undertaken by them.
The Annual Quality Assurance Reports (AQAR) may be part of the Annual Report. The AQAR shall be approved by the statutory bodies of the HEIs (such as Syndicate, Governing Council/Board) for the follow-up action for necessary quality enhancement measures.