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The Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD) launched the Paramarsh scheme, a University Grants Commission (UGC) scheme, to mentor the National Accreditation and Assessment Council (NAAC) accreditation aspirant institutions and promote quality education in higher education institutions. ‘Paramarsh’ is a Hindi language word that means advice or consultation.
The government launched the Paramarsh scheme to maintain quality education standards in India. Under the Paramarsh scheme, UGC has selected 71 universities and 391 colleges that meet the National Accreditation and Assessment Council (NAAC) standards. The selected universities and colleges (known as ‘Mentor’ institutions) will provide mentorship to such colleges and universities that do not fulfil the NAAC standards (referred to as ‘Mentee’ institutions).
The Paramarsh scheme’s main objectives are as follows:
The mentor and mentee can be a private, government, aided or self-financing institution. The mentor institution should have NAAC accreditation with an ‘A’ grade and an overall score of 3.26 and above. A mentor institution fulfilling the NAAC accreditation with the required score and grade and recognised under 2(f) and 12(B) of the UGC Act, 1956, is eligible to receive UGC grants.
Since the grants received from the UGC will be utilised for mentoring the institution and not for creating any infrastructure, a private institution can also receive the funding as they receive for student and teacher-centric schemes.
The Paramarsh scheme will be operationalised through a ‘Hub and Spoke’ (H&S model). In the H&S model, the mentor institution, known as the ‘hub’, is centralised and responsible for guiding the mentee institution through the secondary branches. The secondary branches are known as the ‘spoke’, which are the additional services provided to the mentee institutions for self-improvement.
The H&S model allows centralised control over operational efficiency and resource utilisation to attain the overall development of the mentee institutions. Hub can also be a pool of experts from multiple resources. External members from the industry can also be solicited and used as a resource pool. They can make ground assessments and have clear action plans for mentoring.
Under the scheme, the mentor institutions can get financial assistance up to Rs.30 lakh from the UGC. The mentor institutions can also recruit an expert as a mentor, who will be paid a fellowship amount of Rs.31,000 per month.
One mentor institution and college will guide five colleges. The mentor colleges will provide guidance in research, teaching-learning and evaluation, curricular aspects, institutional values and practices, innovation, etc. The Paramarsh scheme targets 1000 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) for mentoring, focusing on quality as enumerated in the UGC Quality Mandate.