As a post-accreditation quality maintenance measure, every recognised institution should establish an Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC). Because quality improvement is a never-ending process, the IQAC will become a part of the institution’s system and work toward achieving the institution’s quality improvement and maintenance goals. The IQAC’s main goal is to create a mechanism for institutions to enhance their overall performance in a deliberate, persistent, and catalytic way. During the post-accreditation stage, it will focus all of the institution’s efforts and measures on promoting comprehensive academic excellence.
IQAC should work toward comprehending and inculcating quality improvement efforts. Its success is contingent on the sense of belonging and participation it can instil in all of the institution’s constituents. It will not be a distinct hierarchical structure or a record-keeping effort within the institution. It has the potential to become a conduit for ushering in quality enhancement by devising planned interventionist techniques to eliminate inadequacies and improve quality, similar to how industries use “Quality Circles.”
The primary aim of IQAC is
- To promote measures for institutional functioning toward quality enhancement through internationalization of quality culture and implementation of best practices
- To develop a system for conscious, consistent, and catalytic action to improve the institution’s academic and administrative performance.
IQAC shall evolve mechanisms and procedures for
- Ensuring that academic and administrative activities are completed in a timely, efficient, and progressive manner;
- The relevance and quality of academic and research programmes;
- Access to and affordability of academic programmes for people from all backgrounds of life;
- Improving and integrating modern teaching and learning methods;
- Ensuring the validity of evaluation procedures;
- Ensuring the adequacy, upkeep, and proper allocation of support structures and services;
- Sharing research findings and networking with other Indian and international institutions
Some of the functions expected of the IQAC are :
- Establishing and implementing quality benchmarks/parameters for the institution’s numerous academic and administrative activities;
- Assisting in the development of a lean and efficient atmosphere suitable to high-quality education and faculty maturation in terms of knowledge and technology adoption for participatory teaching and learning;
- Set up a system for students, parents, and other stakeholders to provide feedback on the institution’s quality-related processes;
- Dissemination of information on various higher education quality factors;
- Inter- and intra-institutional workshops, seminars on quality-related topics, and quality circles promotion;
- Documentation of various programs/activities aimed at improving quality;
- Serving as the institution’s nodal agency for quality-related activities, such as the adoption and dissemination of best practices;
- Management Information Systems (MIS)-based development and management of institutional databases for the aim of maintaining/improving institutional quality;
- Institutional Quality Culture Development
- Preparation of the Annual Quality Assurance Report (AQAR) to be submitted to NAAC, in accordance with NAAC criteria and parameters.
IQAC will facilitate/contribute
- Ensure a higher level of clarity and focus in institutional operations in order to improve quality;
- Ensure the quality culture is internalised.
- Ensure that the institution’s varied activities are enhanced and coordinated, and that all good practises are institutionalised.
- Provide a solid foundation for decision-making in order to increase institutional performance.
- Serve as a dynamic mechanism for HEI quality improvements;
- Establish a process of documentation and internal communication that is well-organized.
Composition of the IQAC
Every institution may form an IQAC under the presidency of the institution’s Head of Institution, comprising heads of significant academic and administrative units, a few teachers, and representatives of local management and stakeholders.
The following is a possible IQAC composition:
- The Chairperson is the institution’s leader.
- A few high-ranking administrative officials
- There will be three to eight teachers.
- A member of the management team.
- One or two local society nominees, as well as students and alumni.
- One or two Employer/Industrialist/Stakeholder nominations
- One of the senior professors serves as the IQAC’s coordinator/director.
IQAC also allows stakeholders or beneficiaries to participate in the institution’s quality improvement initiatives in a cross-sectional manner. At least once a quarter, the IQAC should meet. The meeting must have a quorum of two-thirds of the total number of members. The agenda, minutes, and actions taken are all available on the website. Reports must have official signatures and be stored electronically in a searchable fashion.
Members of the IQAC must take on the responsibility of raising and increasing awareness inside the institution, as well as devoting time to working out the procedural specifics. Several measures must be considered while picking these members. A few of them are listed below.
- It is advisable to choose persons from various backgrounds who have earned respect for integrity and excellence in their teaching and research. Moreover, they should be aware of the ground realities of the institutional environment.
- Persons in charge of institutional services such as the student welfare, administration, academic tasks, examination, and planning and development would be ideal to appoint as senior administrators.
- The management representative should be knowledgeable of the institution’s goals, constraints, and strengths, as well as devoted to its improvement. Representatives from the local society should be of high social standing and have made substantial contributions to society, particularly in the field of education.
The role of coordinator
The coordinator’s responsibility is critical in ensuring that all members of the IQAC perform together effectively. The IQAC’s coordinator could be a senior figure with experience in quality issues. She or he might be a full-time employee or, to begin with, a senior academic or administrator with the IQAC as a secondary role. The administration may be able to assist with secretarial services.
Operational Features of the IQAC
The foundation for developing procedures and equipment for insuring quality is devotion and commitment to improvement rather than simply institutional control. The IQAC is responsible for ensuring that everything done in the institution for “education” is done efficiently and effectively and to the highest possible standards. To do so, the IQAC must first develop methods and mechanisms for gathering data and information on various aspects of institutional functioning.
NAAC requires universities to file an Annual Quality Assurance Report (AQAR) every year. The minimum institutional requirements (MIR) for volunteering for the second, third, or subsequent cycle of accreditation include a functional Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) and timely submission of Annual Quality Assurance Reports (AQARs). The NAAC peer teams will interact with the IQAC during the institutional visit to learn about their progress, functioning, and quality-sustenance activities. The Annual Quality Assurance Report (AQAR) may be included in the report. The AQAR must be authorized by the HEIs’ statutory authorities (such as the Syndicate, Governing Council/Board) for the essential quality enhancement initiatives to be followed through on. The AQAR must be submitted to NAAC on a regular basis by Higher Education Institutions (HSE). The IQAC may construct an exclusive window on their institutional website and upload/report on their operations on a regular basis, as well as host the AQAR. All necessary communications can be directly mailed to the official email id of IQAC at [email protected].