Historically and traditionally, quality assurance (QA) organisations have had two functions: the enhancement of quality of institutions and programmes the accountability of the results of teaching and learning. Enhancement function has been executed primarily in systems of high trust, whereas the accountability function has been developed to prevent bad quality of institutions and programs, and thus to protect the beneficiaries i.e. students and society. During the past few years, politicians and higher education institutions (HEIs) have discovered the concept of excellence. Rankings undoubtedly have stimulated this concept, both in positive and negative ways. One positive effect of rankings is the latest drive for enhancement. In addition, the rankings have removed the fiction of ‘equality’ between and within HEIs. The reality is much more complex than a one-dimensional structure.
A negative effect of the concept of excellence is the ease with which politicians use the word and idea that excellence can be quickly and easily achieved. Universities playa role by asserting in their strategic plans ‘that they strive for excellence in research and teaching, thereby challenging those who have to evaluate them on whether they actually deliver what they promise. HEIs might make themselves vulnerable in this way if they do not deliver outstanding quality. As a general tendency, more and more attention will be given to the differences in student population and student experience. The concept of equality appears to be losing ground with students and staff. This comprehensive paper is an attempt to provide an overview of the design, development and implementation of quality assurance mechanism set up to ensure the fulfillment of criteria, goals and objectives of higher education. This paper attempts to develop an overview of approaches to quality by higher educational institutions around the world, in general, and in India, in particular. This paper highlights very recent initiatives in India pertaining to the mandatory assessment and accreditation with specific and analytical references and overview from the pending The National Accreditation
Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill, 2010 as also the UGC Regulations, 2012, making ‘Mandatory Assessment and Accreditation’ for each Higher Educational Institution in India.