The core mission of higher education is to educate, train, undertake, research and provide service to the community. The Higher Education in India is the Second largest system in the world. It has witnessed many fold increase in its institutional capacity since independence- from 1950 to 2012, the number of universities from 20 to about 431, colleges from 500 to 20,677 and teachers from 15, to 5.05 Lakhs with student enrollment from 1.00 lakh to over 116.12 Lakhs. Then to protect the quality of the higher education institutions, the National Policy Mission propose the Accreditation unit. Based on this, University Grants Commission (UGC), under section 12 CCC of the UGC Act (Act 3 of 1956), established the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) as an Autonomous Institution on 16 September 1994 with Registered Office at Bangalore.
The National Assessment and Accreditation Council is in its 18th year of operation now. Seventeen years may not mean a long time in the annals of Indian higher education, which may data back to the ancient period of ‘Nalanda’ and ‘Takshashila’, but it can certainly be a sufficiently long period for a National Quality Assurance Agency to take stock of its policies and practices. The decade-old history of NAAC is a story of many triumphs and tribulations. Addressing the quality concerns of world’s second largest higher education system has meant, adding several dimensions to the experiences of quality assurance initiatives of NAAC. Quality assurance models, as with higher education systems themselves, are designed to fulfill long- term collective needs. The quality assurance agencies are obliged to face enduring questions such as defining and maintaining standards of quality and equally important need to keep their methodologies up- to –date and responsive to shifting societal needs. The important actions and methodologies of NAAC are explained here.