New Delhi: Higher education institutions that have failed to meet the quality standards of the National Assessment Accreditation Council (NAAC) can now get mentorship from the top universities and colleges.

Under the Paramarsh scheme of the University Grants Commission (UGC), launched by HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' here on Thursday, initially 71 universities and 391 colleges with NAAC score of 3.26 and above will mentor five colleges each.

Expressing his satisfaction, the minister said, "The first step of the mission that we had started to improve the quality and standards of education has been initiated by the UGC with the launch of Paramarsh and Deeksharambh schemes."

Under the Paramarsh scheme, the leading institutions will provide regular mentoring to help colleges achieve high quality standards. The scheme also proposes to provide financial assistance to the mentoring institutions and the option of appointing an expert, who can be paid a fellowship amount of Rs 31,000 per month.

Terming Paramarsh as an important scheme, he said the ministry's thrust was on improving the global ranking of the Indian higher education institutions.

As a part of this scheme, hundreds of top universities and colleges will be selected to lead the institutes, which failed to achieve the NAAC grade.

The eligibility guidelines laid down by UGC say the mentor and the mentee can be government, aided, private or self-financing institution. "The mentor institution should be NAAC accredited with an A grade, having an overall score of 3.26 and above. Any such institution recognised under 2(f) & 12B of the UGC Act 1956 will be eligible to receive UGC grants for the purpose. Since these grants will be used for mentoring the institution and not for creation of any infrastructure, the private institution can also receive funding as they do for student teacher centric schemes," the guidelines stated.

The scheme will lead to enhancement of the mentee institutions' quality and its profile as a result of improved quality of research, teaching and learning methodologies. The mentee institution will also have increased exposure and speedier adaptation to best practices.

The Paramarsh scheme will also facilitate sharing of knowledge, information and opportunities for research collaboration and faculty development in mentee institutions.

As part of the scheme, the mentor institutions can secure financial assistance up to Rs 30 lakh from UGC and can also hire experts.

"This scheme will be a paradigm shift in the concept of mentoring of institution by another well performing institution to upgrade their academic performance and enable them to get accredited by focusing in the area of curricular aspects, teaching-learning and evaluation, research, innovation, institutional values and practices etc," an official said.

Officials said since the scheme had been launched, the proposals would be invited from the leading institutes that would like to mentor colleges. "Once the proposals are accepted by the UGC, the institutes can start the mentoring programme within a month," said an official.

The NAAC ia an autonomous body that assesses and accredits higher education institutions (HEIs) in India. It assesses the higher learning institutes on the basis of seven parametres.

The parametres include teaching-learning and evaluation, infrastructure and learning resources, research, innovation and extension, curricular aspects, governance, leadership and management, student support and progression and institutional values and best practices.