The Hindu | NEW DELHI, April 16, 2016 |
The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) recently released the first-ever government rankings of educational institutions, the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF). These rankings, released with the help the National Board of Accreditation (NBA), attracted criticism from various quarters, including academics, over the way the institutes were judged. NBA Chairman Surendra Prasad talks to Kritika Sharma Sebastian on the rankings and various concerns raised by the universities themselves
Some institutes with both technical and non-technical courses have complained about losing out in the rankings due to confusion over categories in the application. They say they were unclear about whether to apply for the rankings as “engineering”, “university”, “pharmacy” or “management” institutes.
All institutes were given the freedom to decide which category they wanted to apply under. Though the number of institutes that applied in more than one category is less, in such cases we focused on what discipline was more known for. If the institute was more known for its engineering courses, we took it under that category. If the institute did not specify any particular discipline, it was put under the university category.
The “perception” category, which holds 10 percent weightage, is a very subjective category. Do you not think this will give an added advantage to institutes located in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai?
It is definitely a subjective category, but we felt it was very important to rank institutes in terms of perception — gathered from both peers and the public. One should definitely know what the industry, academia or alumni think about a certain institute. However, I agree the criteria should be designed in a way that they do not hamper other criteria and give a fair idea about the institute.
People have been questioning how the fairly new IITs like IIT-Ropar have scored a position in top 10, and that no other institution besides IIT has been ranked top 10 under the “engineering” category.
Not only the new IITs, but also the new IIMs have scored good ranks. This is because they scored well in the “teaching, learning and resources” parameter as the number of students in these new institutes is less and the number of faculty big. This naturally gives them an advantage.
Are there any plans to change, add or remove any ranking parameters?
The parameters came up after much deliberation with a team of experts. Now, if at all, any subtraction or removal has to be done, we can do it only after a discussion with the committee. I have some ideas in mind, but they will only materialise after due deliberation.
What lessons have you learnt from this first-time have massive exercise?
It was overwhelming to see such a large number of institutes participate in the exercise. However, we had to cross-check the data from several institutes multiple times. – Courtesy