The University Grants Commission (UGC), India has (in the XI Plan) made a policy decision to direct all Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) to establish Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) and to provide seed financial assistance for the same. It has also issued Guidelines for the establishment and monitoring of IQACs.
Maintaining the momentum of quality consciousness is crucial in HEIs. Internal Quality Assurance Cell, an internal quality assurance mechanism of the institution, is conceived as a mechanism to build and ensure a quality culture at the institutional level. Every HEI should have an internal quality assurance system, with appropriate structure and processes, and with enough flexibility to meet the diverse needs of the stakeholders. The IQAC is meant for planning, guiding and monitoring Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Enhancement (QE) activities of the HEIs. The IQAC may channelise and systematize the efforts and measures of an institution towards academic excellence. It should not be yet another hierarchical structure or record-keeping exercise in the institution; it would be a facilitative and participative organ of the institution. The IQAC should become a driving force for ushering in quality by working out intervention strategies to remove deficiencies and enhance quality.
Structure and Composition of IQAC
According to the UGC Guidelines, the IQAC shall be constituted under the chairmanship of the head of the HEI. He/She may be assisted by a Director (in case of a university) or a Coordinator (in case of a college) who shall be a senior faculty member. This position may be held as an additional charge by the faculty member concerned, or a new position of a full-time Director/Coordinator may be created and a person is selected and appointed or a senior faculty member is posted by redeployment. The IQAC shall have the following composition:
Head of the HEI - Chairperson;
Five (in case of a College) or eight (in case of a University) senior teachers and one senior administrative official - Members;
Two (in case of a College) or three (in case of a University) external experts on Quality Management/Industry/Local Community - Members; and,
Director/Coordinator of IQAC - Member Secretary.
The members at b) and c) of the above shall be nominated by the Head of the HEI in consultation with the academic body of the HEI (Academic Council of a University or Academic Committee of a College). The membership of such nominated members shall be for a period of two years. The IQAC should meet at least once in a quarter. The quorum for the meeting shall be two-third 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.