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B-schools cast a doubt on NIRF

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Business Standard | Kalpana Pathak & Vinay Umarji  |  Mumbai/ Ahmedabad  April 5, 2016 |

The Ministry of Human Resource Development brought out the first ever India Rankings 2016 on Monday.

After the initial euphoria of India coming up with its own ranking system– the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)– B-schools say there are many “surprise elements” in the ranking, beginning with slotting of institutes which do not make the cut.  The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) brought out the first ever India Rankings 2016 on Monday. A faculty member from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) said as compared to international rankings that are mostly programme specific, the generic nature of the NIRF rankings raises doubts over verifiability of data.  “International rankings are more programme specific and stakeholder specific and follow a feedback driven methodology. The NIRF, on the other hand, though comprehensive, has followed a data driven methodology. However, this comprehensiveness comes with its own baggage. For instance, one doesn’t know how verifiable the data could be,” the faculty member added.

IIM-A has been ranked at the second spot among best management institutions. While IIM-Bengaluru was ranked number one. All these institutions were ranked across five parameters — teaching learning and resources, research, consultancy and collaborative performance, graduation outcome, outreach and inclusivity and perception. While 1,438 engineering colleges participated in the ranking process, 609 management institutes, 454 pharmacy colleges, 28 architecture colleges, 803 arts and science colleges and 233 universities took part in the NIRF ranking process. Among universities, the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, was ranked the top varsity while the Jawaharlal Nehru University comes at third position. IIT-Madras has been ranked the best engineering institute in the country.  A professor from an IIM said, “Many B-schools which have no history or culture of research figure on the list of the top institutions. It is surprising to see that IIM Indore figures at the 10th spot despite being a good B-school.” Saibal Chattopadhyay, Director, IIM Calcutta said, “If there are issues with regard to the ranking, we should look at improving upon it. Now we have a general idea of the NIRF.”  MHRD in its document on ranking of management institutions said: “It is recommended that the submitted data be also uploaded on their own (institute’s), publicly visible website in the interest of transparency. The data should remain there in an archived form for the next 3 years to enable easy crosschecking,wherever required.”

Institutions that fail to do this honestly or resort to unethical practices should be automatically debarred from participation in the future Ranking Surveys for a period of two years. Their names may also be displayed on the Ranking Portal indicating the nature of their unethical conduct. An attempt should also be made by the Ranking Authority to maintain the archived form of this data for due diligence as needed.  Ashish Nanda, director of IIM Ahmedabad (IIM-A) said: “We are gratified to be recognized as one of the top management institutes by NIRF. External rankings are valuable, since they give us a sense of how we are doing in comparison to other institutions on various metrics. Eventually, however, we consider good rankings the outcome of effectively pursuing our vision of educating leaders of enterprises, not the objective of our efforts. We will continue to strive to conduct high quality research, teach effectively, and connect proactively with our various stakeholders in pursuit of our vision.” –  Courtesy


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