THE HANS INDIA | Apr 29,2017 | Dr K Nagaiah | Senior Principal Scientist at IICT, Hyderabad | Opinion |
Central universities and institutes have “unfair advantage” while state universities have to rely on meagre state finances grants. For placement, companies prefer to visit IITs and IIMs. Even central universities cannot attract placement firms. For example, no placement person doesn’t look for M Sc or PhD science graduates even from central universities, only exception being Organic Chemistry for jobs in drug industries.
A few days back, the HRD Ministry announced ranking of higher educational institutions and universities, under the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF). This is the second time to announcing rankings, but this time they are given under several categories: a) Overall (IISc, Bangalore First Rank); b) Universities (IISc., Bangalore, First Rank); c) Management (IIM, Ahmadabad); Pharmacy (Jamia Hamdard); Engineering (IIT, Chennai); Degree College (Miranda, New Delhi). It is a wise decision to rank ourselves instead of always criticising ourselves that none of our institutes figured in first 200 universities in the survey done by Thomson Reuters (THE). Such an Indian survey helps us assess where we are, so that remedial measures can be taken to increase the standards. However, several drawbacks are noticed in the ranking system. First several universities and institutes have different rankings in different categories.
Two examples are IIT Madras is ranked 2nd in Overall category, while it is the first under Engineering. Nearer home, Osmania University got 38th rank in Overall category, and 23 in the University category. There are several such examples, which lead to confusion. Next the parameters that are taken are “teaching, learning and resources.” Importance is given first to financial grants and their proper utilisation. In this category, central universities and institutes have “unfair advantage” while state universities have to rely on meagre state finances grants. To compare both central-funded and state-funded universities is unreasonable. Second for placement, the companies prefer to visit IITs and IIMs. Even central universities cannot attract placement firms. For example, no placement person doesn’t look for M Sc or PhD science graduates even from central universities, only exception being organic chemistry for jobs in drug industries. Once again quality publications depend on funds and equipment. State universities with meagre finances cannot support high funded research. Only hope for state universities is some short-term funds from UGC. As a matter of fact, quality publications depend on funds and equipments. Here again NIRF seems to rely on citations (provided by Scopus).
It is better to rely on “impact factor” that reflect the standard of journals in which papers published. Again, faculty-student ration. This factor is definitely favorable to central institutes. Most State universities are under-staffed and run by contract staff. Only IIMs and IITs graduates get highest salaries. Therefore, all this exercise is unnecessary which places state universities at lower rank. Besides, state universities being local in nature have to give seats to locals that too under various reservation categories and even the staff selections are also from local talent only. Turning to Osmania University, its rank is 38 under Overall category or 23rd under Universities category. Under these lists, if one looks at State Universities only, the 38th rank becomes 11 in Overall category; likewise, its 23 rank under Universities category becomes 11. Therefore, by this analysis, Osmania University which is presently celebrating centenary is better placed than many of the state universities (see tables for details). I hope this centenary celebration gives further fillip to the university performance. At the end, it is better if HRD Ministry helps State universities to come up to the level of Central Universities, by directly funding them. It should not make rich become richer, poor become poorer. They may rank state and private universities together for further funding. Yearly ranking of Central institutes, universities and IIMs is an unnecessary exercise, since anyway those are better placed, with two or three ranks this side or that side. – Courtesy