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NIRF – It is unfair to compare Central, State varsities

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

NIRF Ranking 2017: President Gives Away Awards To Top Institutions

ND TV | Edited by Shihabudeen Kunju S |  April 10, 2017  |

NIRF Ranking 2017: President Gives Away Awards to Top Institutions

NIRF Ranking 2017: President Gives Away Awards to Top Institutions

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee today presented awards to top-ranked institutions in the NIRF Ranking 2017 i.e. top 10 in overall category and toppers in the stream-wise categories -Engineering, Management, Universities, Colleges and Pharmacy at a ceremony held in Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi. Speaking on the occasion Mr. Mukherjee said the higher education sector in India has seen massive expansion during the last two decades. The number of Universities, Degree Colleges, IITs, NITs, etc has increased but certain issues remain to be addressed. President said that the first issue was regarding the lack of availability of quality teachers. The second was the problem of retaining our talents in our country. Bright students every year go abroad as they consider that the facilities, environment and opportunities abroad are superior. In ancient times, the situation was reverse when our Universities attracted the brightest students as well as teachers from all over the world, he said.

Mr. Mukherjee said he is happy to see that during the last two years, two Indian institutions have figured in the top 200 in international rankings. He said that he believed that our institutions have all the qualities necessary for being ranked high. He said that the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) started by the Ministry of HRD and now in its second year is a laudable initiative and will help our institutions to realize their potential and emerge as world class institutions.  Pranab Mukherjee also released the India Rankings 2017 report.  “NIRF has become a grand success and the whole country is debating about including this including print, electronic and social media. TV channels, Radio and News papers and Advertisements”, said HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar in his address. He also said it is a right spirit as it is an effort to improve the quality and It is different from NAAC because NAAC is an accreditation and assessment of stand alone institutes. –  Courtesy    /    NIRF India Ranking 2017: Top 10 Educational Institutes In All Categories

‘NIRF better in terms of transparency’

Business Standard | IANS  |  Kolkata  April 8, 2017 |

India’s National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) is “better” compared to global ranking systems in terms of transparency because it doesn’t give much weightage to perception, a library and information science expert said here on Saturday.  “In India we are doing a better exercise in the sense that our transparency is 100 per cent. Every data that we have is displayed and people can see that data. If two private universities are competitors then they can talk about each other’s data and that way it is transparent,” Jagdish Arora, Director of Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET) Centre told IANS here

INFLIBNET Centre, Gandhinagar is an autonomous Inter-University Centre (IUC) of the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India.  INFLIBNET Centre is involved in the data capture for NIRF rankings.   Arora was speaking at ‘Open Access: Road to Freedom’, the 33rd annual convention of the Society for Information Science organised in partnership with CSIR’s Indian Institute of Chemical Biology.  Asked about the contrast between the NIRF and other popular global ranking systems, Arora said India’s version does not bank heavily on perception. “We do not give much weightage to perception. You go for QSAWorld University Ranking or the Times Higher Education ranking, perception is heavy… for QS perception is about 40 per cent. “The perception is something which can be played with. You have a West Bengal State University and you have Calcutta University (CU)… so when the West Bengal University was formed… half of the colleges came under it. And those colleges have very low enrolment because people know CU. So this is perception. We give attention to peer perception… the experts,” he explained.

The INFLIBNET also hosts ‘Shodhganga’, a portal for research students to deposit their Ph.D. thesis and make it available to the entire scholar community in open access.  Asked about the risks of plagiarism associated with making data open access, Arora contended open access also makes it easy to detect plagiarism. “Plagiarism is happening for ages. When resources such as research articles are available openly, it is easier to copy but then it is much easier to detect when it is available openly. “Once thesis goes online, there are more chances that plagiarism will be detected. We are also providing access to anti-plagiarism package to universities who submit theses with us. They have to sign an MoU with us and they get access to the package. Our advice to universities is subject your theses to plagiarism detection and then only you submit,” he added.  –  Courtesy

MHRD NIRF rankings need more participation to present a credible

India Today | PTI  |  April 4, 2017  | Opinion |

New Delhi, Apr 4 (PTI) : The annual national ranking of educational institutions released by HRD Ministry needs more participants to present a “credible” picture to the public, academicians have pointed out. The second edition of the NDA governments ambitious project– National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)– was released yesterday by HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar.  While prestigious institutions like IISc Bangalore, several IITs and IIMs figured in the top 10 lists released under six categories, there were some “surprises” with several “not-so-reputed” colleges making it to the list, way above prominent institutions.  While some prominent DU colleges including St Stephens, Ramjas and Hindu College did not participate in the process, Atma Ram Sanatan Dharm (ARSD) College has been ranked above prestigious LSR College for Women and Kolkatas St. Xaviers.

Other prestigious Delhi colleges which did not apply were Hansraj, Kirori Mal, Jesus and Mary, Kamala Nehru, Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Khalsa, Daulat Ram College and Gargi. A total of 2,995 institutions participated this time against last years 3,563 participants.  Academicians point out that participation of more institutions will present a credible picture. “There were certain loopholes in the ranking parameters in the last edition but the government has rectified them this year. However, if the prominent institutions dont participate they will of course decide the ranking from those who have participated but it does not reflect a clear picture,” a senior Delhi University professor said. “For a school student who will join college in an year or two, if he or she goes by the list, ARSD is the college to struggle for and Stephens will be a complete no. How misleading is that?” he added.  Dinesh Khattar, acting principal of Kirori Mal college said, “We would have loved to be part of the process but were busy with National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) inspection and the application needed a lot of homework. We will apply next year onwards.”  HRD ministry officials attribute the lack of participation to stringent norms under the NIRF.  “There are very stringent norms for those participating in the ranking. The institutions are required to submit an affidavit declaring infrastructure availability, developmental plans and much more. “This could have been the reason behind lesser participation. Also there are not much institutions which have been maintaining the data sought by us for analysis under NIRF, so they may participate in coming years,” an HRD official said. The NIRF outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country.

The methodology draws from the overall recommendations and broad understanding arrived at by a core committee set up by the ministry to identify the broad parameters for ranking universities and institutions. The parameters broadly cover: Teaching, Learning and Resources; Research and Professional Practices; Graduation Outcomes; Outreach and Inclusivity; and Perception. Unlike last year, this time the ranking was released under six categories– Overall, Colleges, Universities, Management, Engineering and Pharmacy.  The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, the first Indian institution to make it to the top 10 in a global ranking, has been ranked at the top. Jawaharlal Nehru University, ranked third last year, has been placed at the second position this year.  Along with the IISC and the JNU, seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) make the top 10 of the list.  The Hyderabad University, ranked fourth last year, has slipped to the seventh, and Jamia Millia Islamia, which was at the 83rd position, has shot up to rank 20. Delhi Universitys Miranda House has been adjudged the best college in the country followed by Chennais Loyola College. Five other DU colleges have made it to the top 10 of the list of colleges. PTI GJS TIR – Courtesy

Top 25 engineering colleges in India : NIRF ranking 2017

The Indian Express | April 3, 2017  |

Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday announced the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) rankings for the top universities in India. Among the engineering institutions, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras has bagged the top position.  IIT Madras took the top position among engineering institutes even in the 2016 NIRF ranking. Among the top 10 this year, there are eight IITs including IIT Bombay, Kharagpur, Delhi and Roorkee. The other non-IIT institutes among the top 10 are Anna University, Chennai and Jadavpur University Kolkata.

Top 25 Engineering institutes  –    https://www.nirfindia.org/EngineeringRanking.html

1. Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
2. Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
3. Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
4. Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
5. Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
6. Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee
7. Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati
8. Anna University, Chennai
9. Jadavpur University, Kolkata
10. Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad
11. National Institute of Technology, Titruchirapalli
12. National Insititute of Technology, Rourkela
13. Vellore Institute of Technology
14. Institute of Chemical Technology
15. Indian Institute of Technology, Indore
16. Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani
17. Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur
18. Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneshwar
19. Indian Institute of Technology, Patna
20. Jamia Millia Islamia
21. Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar
22. National Insititute of Technology, Surathkal
23. Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines)
24. College of Engineering, Pune
25. Shanmugha Arts Science and Technology and Research Academy –   Courtesy

IIT Madras ranked India’s best engineering college in India by NIRF, MHRD. Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi says he’s ‘not surprised’!

Edex Live | Blessy Mathew Prasad  |   03 April 2017 |
Claiming that the institute has faithfully implemented their strategic plan, IIT M Director says they will continue to focus on research and internationalisation of faculty and students.

IIT Madras is on top again. For the second year in a row, the premier institute in Chennai managed to stay at the top of the MHRD’s rankings — this time being adjudged the Best Engineering College in the couuntry. IIT M Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi says that the National Institutional Rankings Framework (NIRF) results didn’t really come as a surprise as they were aware that their strategic plan was in line with the parameters on which the rankings are based. The last strategic plan which was revised in the year 2013 focused on areas like academic flexibility, entrepreneurship, industry engagement, internationalisation, research quality and alumni engagement. “We have implemented our strategic plan effectively and have improved on several parameters. So we knew that we would perform well in the rankings,” says Ramamurthi.   The NIRF rankings, which were announced by Union Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar earlier today are based on several key parameters including teaching, learning and resources; outreach and inclusivity, research and professional practice, graduation outcomes and perception, most of which were implemented well by IIT M. The institute was ranked number one last year as well and has also placed second in the overall common ranking category this year.

IIT M Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi

We will continue to work on our current plan, focussing more on improving the quality of research, getting more foreign faculty, better inclusivity among students and more industry-funded research . – Bhaskar Ramamurthi, IIT M Director.

Speaking about their upcoming endeavours, Ramamurthi said, “We will continue to work on our current plan, focussing more on improving the quality of research, getting more foreign faculty, better inclusivity among students and more industry-funded research.” When asked how the rankings would help the institute, he said that it would ‘certainly help improve the perception about the institute’, thereby encouraging deserving candidates to apply with confidence. – Courtesy

NIRF Ranking 2017 : HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar Released NIRF India Ranking 2017

NIRF ranking 2017: IISc bags the top position

NIRF ranking 2017: IIT Madras has taken the spot for the best engineering college in India.

Top 10 Universities in the country

1. IISC Bangalore
2. IIT chennai
3. IIT bombay
4. IIT kharagpur
5. IIT Delhi
6. JNU
7. IIT kanpur
8. iit guauhati
9. IIT Roorkee
10. Banaras Hindu University

Courtesy—The Indian Expresss

Here are the Top Ten Engineering Colleges listed in the NIRF India Ranking 2017

  1. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras
  2. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay
  3. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur
  4. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi
  5. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur
  6. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee
  7. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati
  8. Anna University, Chennai
  9. Jadavpur University
  10. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Hyderabad

Courtesy – ND TV

New Delhi:  The Press Conference where MHRD will release the NIRF India Rankings 2017 has started at the PIB Conference Hall, Shastri Bhawan. Following are the highlights till now:

  • In addition to the four parameters included last year, there have bene two new additions – Common overall rank and General Degree Colleges.
  • NIRF will provide general pointers to students about the quality and infrastructure of an institute.
  • Apart from the general parameters which are in sync with International standards, NIRF has also included some country-specific parameters this year for the ranking system. The country-specific parameters are- regional diversity, outreach, gender inclusivity, inclusion of disadvantaged sections.
  • NIRF has made some changes to the ranking system based on the feedback received last year.
  • This year 3300 institutes of higher education voluntarily chose to participate in the ranking system.
  • The government is considering a Project Vishwajeet to promote international standards in educational institutes.
  • The ranking system also highlights the deficiencies in the educational system.
  • 70% of the total research output in the country comes from these 3300 institutes.
  • Top 100 institutes account for 80% research output.
  • A large number of institutes operating with sub-critical faculty numbers. MHRD, UGC, AICTE, and State Education Departments need to work to overcome these deficiencies.
  • Sensitise Higher Education Institutes for quality education
  • Teaching Learning Resources and Research Project and collaborative work were some of the parameters for 2016.
  • Major changes for NIRF Ranking 2017 – Overall Common Ranking, Discipline-wise Ranking. There has also been improvement in sub-parameters under research, graduation etc.
  • Weightage to Institution Size (student strength), publication quality given weightage, introduction of highly-cited paper, data on patents granted and published, graduation outcomes.
  • IISc, Bangalore tops the list of Universities second time in a row; complete list to be released next week
  • The complete list will be out on April 10, 2017

Click Here to View…Results of NIRF 2017…..

NIRF 2017 – Engineering

NIRF 2017 – Management

NIRF 2017 – Overall Ranking

NIRF 2017 – Universities

NIRF 2017 –  Colleges

NIRF 2017 – Pharmacy

New Delhi:  Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is all set to release the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) Ranking 2017 for Indian Universities. The ranking released by Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Human Resource Development through a press conference. The rankings will be released at the PIB Conference Hall, Shastri Bhawan at 1:30 pm. The event will also be webcasted. The NIRF system was accepted by MHRD and launched on September 29, 2015. MHRD completed the process of collecting data from universities in February 2017.

The first ever NIRF India Ranking was released in 2016. NIRF released rankings in four different categories – University, Engineering institutes, Management institutes, and Pharmacy institutes. The institutes were ranked on five major parameters. In 2016, Indian Institute of Science was ranked as the best University in India. The institute participating in the ranking system this year will be given a common overall ranking and a discipline specific ranking. Highly focused Institutes with a single main discipline with less than 1000 students enrolled will be given only a discipline specific ranking.  The participating institutes will be ranked on the following parameters:

Teaching, Learning and Resources (TLR) – For TLR, institutes are assessed on multiple factors such as student strength, faculty-student ratio, financial resources and their utilization etc. The weightage for TLR in ranking is 0.30.

Research and Professional Practice (RPP) – For RPP, institutes are ranked on factors such as research papers and journals published, quality of publication etc. The weightage for RPP in ranking is 0.30.

Graduation Outcome (GO) – Under GO, institutes are ranked on factors such as placements, median salary, ratio of students admitted to top universities etc. Weightage for this metric for overall ranking is 0.20.

Outreach and Inclusivity (OI) – Under this criteria institutes are assessed on the diversity factor such as number of students from other states, women students etc. The weightage for this metric is 0.10.

Perception – Institutes are also assessed for peer and public perception. The weightage accorded to perception of an institute for overall ranking is 0.10.

Rate, and don’t rank, academic institutions

The Hindu Business Line |  Ashish Nanda | 31 March 2017 | Opinion |

Rankings distort organisational behaviour, forcing them to focus on measurable and limited, rather than qualitative, goals.

A colleague recently told me: “NIRF rankings are coming up. We will have a gala event, like last year, with tremendous publicity. These rankings are becoming our Oscars.” His remark crystallised for me some of my concerns with the NIRF (National Institute of Ranking Framework) ranking of higher education institutions. I believe rankings should be replaced by ratings, and these should be done by an independent agency. Rankings accentuate competition. They anoint champions of tennis tournaments, winners of beauty pageants, fastest athletes in track races. Competitors not only want to win, some also want others to do poorly. As they identify winners from a competitive choice set, rankings amplify zero-sum dynamics.

Winner’s market

Academic contexts are not zero-sum settings. The best of academic institutions collaborate with their peers and build shared strengths. Ranking them competitively weakens the motivation to cooperate.  Rankings magnify the winner to the exclusion of everyone else. You might recall Moonlight won the Oscar for best film last month. How many of the eight other films nominated for best film can you recall? Because of asymmetric rewards, those being ranked go to extraordinary lengths to be highly ranked. This leads to two distortions in behaviour: focus on measurements rather than goals, and susceptibility to herd mentality. Since rankings are high-powered rewards, those being evaluated focus on what is being measured even to the possible exclusion of what is important. When schoolteachers were rewarded based on students’ test scores, although the students’ test taking abilities improved, their creative abilities, social skills, and love for learning fell.  Rankings reduce performance on many dimensions to a single ordinal number. When all are being measured on the same metrics with the same weights, ranking-sensitive subjects eschew differentiation, and avoid innovation.

Cheap tricks

Some higher education institutions are tailoring their strategy narrowly; others might be gaming in their reporting, with the objective of improving their NIRF rankings. When an institution reports area dedicated to sports in square feet rather than square yards, is it due to an honest error, or desire to raise NIRF score? I heard the director of a reputed institution justify to their alumni focus on activities, not because of their institutional value, but because they would improve rankings. Since rankings raise the stakes, evaluators must ensure that criteria and measurement are robust. Though National Board of Accreditation (NBA) is valiantly administering NIRF, the criteria remains fluid. For example, should research output of institutions be recognised only if it is management research, or should it also include work done in core disciplines such as economics, statistics and psychology? One of the criteria used to evaluate management institutes in 2016 measured their commitment to Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs). MOOCs are valuable to education in India. However, given their high fixed cost and increasing returns to scale, MOOCs should be offered from only a few platforms. Making it a ranking criterion influences all institutions to invest in MOOCs, risking socially inefficient investments in sub-scale offerings.

Evaluation systems must be built on broad consensus on appropriate criteria and their weightages, as well as audit capability to ensure submissions are correct. Whether this can be done by a body subsidiary to the HRD ministry is an open question.  Although it operates as an independent body, membership of various authorities of NBA suggests significant influence of the government, especially MHRD, on its operations. The shadow of NIRF rankings can induce overly compliant behaviour from academic institutions. Even if entirely aboveboard in its actions, MHRD’s ability to influence rankings might be seen as compromising the independence of academic administrators. So, what’s the way forward? Evaluating higher education institutions and publicising how they stand on various criteria is useful. A reliable, independent evaluation is socially beneficial. The approach to evaluating academic institutions should be to rate, not rank them. Academic institutions should be measured against yardsticks, not against one another.

Bring third parties

Ratings may create less buzz, but are more aligned to what the government is trying to achieve: encourage academic institutions to accomplish high quality standards and oversee the institutions in a way that differentiates between them based on quality.  To my knowledge, nowhere else in the world are rankings or ratings of academic institutions conducted by government bodies. To prevent politicking, and avoid even the appearance of conflict of interests, ratings should be done by a neutral, third party that is at a clear arm’s length from the Government, as also from the institutions being ranked, and is seen as capable in evaluation and audit.  This will only increase public trust in the ratings.  –  The writer is Director, IIM-Ahmedabad –  Courtesy

HRD Ministry’s national institutional ranking framework (NIRF) gets cold response

Millenium Post | Dhirendra Kumar | 27 March 2017  |

The higher educational institutions have given a thumps down to the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry’s revamped National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), a methodology adopted by the ministry to rank all institutions of higher education in the country. According to latest data, about 828 higher institutions have not shown any interest in the ranking system of the government as 2,735 institutions participated for 2017 rankings in comparison to last year’s 3,563 participants. However, the fact that may bring some sigh of relief for the HRD Ministry is that there are 816 new participants under the new category introduced from this year onwards, which includes institutions of medical and law. Notably, the HRD Ministry had launched domestic ranking system on September 29, 2015 and ranking of institutions was declared on April 4 in 2016. Similarly, this year’s ranking would also be declared in the next month. In the first ranking framework, the institutions such as universities, engineering colleges, management institutions, colleges, pharmacy and architecture had participated, while in the revamped ranking, medical and law colleges were also included for their ranking apart from new category of colleges.

In reply to a question of BJP MP Ravindra Pandey in Lok Sabha on ranking of institutions, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar acknowledged that Indian educational institutions do not rank high globally. “There is scope for improving the ranking internationally,” he said, adding that there is a possibility that the situation will improve as international faculties are coming to the Indian institutions. The minister said with an aim of evaluating the performance of educational institutions in the country, the government has launched the NIRF. The NIRF ranks the institutions using data on five broad parameters — teaching learning resources, research and professional practice, outreach and inclusivity, graduation outcomes and perception, the minister said. The HRD officials defended the low participation of institutions for national ranking framework by saying that “stringent” norms of the NIRF “might” have been reason behind it. “Given that under the NIRF, the institutions have to submit an affidavit declaring infrastructure availability, developmental plans, which might had not gone down well with universities,” the HRD official said, adding that in the coming years, the number of participants would increase. –  Courtesy

NIRF 2017: Universities to be ranked for overall and discipline-specific excellence

Jan 31, 2017  | Gauri Kohli |  Hindustan Times |  New Delhi |

The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) – India’s own top university rankings, launched last year by the HRD ministry will have unique features this year. Institute will be considered eligible for ranking on the basis of overall and discipline-specific excellence. All data presented for checks for rankings by the universities will have to be published. Professor Surendra Prasad, part of the core committee developing this framework, says, “For the smaller institutes, NIRF will have just a discipline-specific rank. Universities will also have to publish all data which the general public and stakeholders can view. This, we hope will reduce the possibilities of misrepresentation.” In 2016, the parameters for selection were broadly divided into five categories – resources for teaching and learning, research and collaborative effort, graduation outcome, outreach and inclusivity and peer and stakeholder perception. Nearly 20 parameters were identified over these five heads. There will also be a greater thrust on quality parameters in research (beyond volume of research and simple measures of quality). “There will be greater objectivity through rationalisation of parameters to eliminate those that are extremely difficult to authenticate on such a large scale. It will be easier for institutions to enter the necessary data for evaluation. The database of peers for peer perception has been enhanced significantly,” says Professor Prasad.

The methodology of ranking will largely be the same as 2016. “We have tried to fine tune the parameters for greater objectivity. For the discipline-specific rankings, the parameters have been tweaked to better suit the concerned disciplines,” he adds. Broadly, the parameters used to rank the institutions are similar to those of 2016. However, improvements have been made based on last year’s learnings. In another major change, the categorisation of the previous year has been eliminated. All institutions catering to a minimum student population will be eligible for an overall rank, independent of their status or discipline. However, there will also be discipline-specific rankings, as mentioned already, for certain disciplines. Thus, it is possible for an institution to have multiple ranks.  Recalling how the entire process started and looking forward, Prof Prasad says the first ranking process was intense, but also very educative. “We had identified some areas of weakness. Going forward there is definitely need to strengthen these. The biggest positive was the overwhelming interest to participate in the effort. The biggest concern was somewhat careless attitude in providing the required data on the part of many institutions. The biggest takeaway, however, was creation of a confidence that meaningful and objective rankings can be done even in a large higher education system like India’s. We have learnt a lot. Hopefully, we will be able to use these learnings for the coming cycle,” he says. This year, all participating institutions, independent of their discipline or nature will be given a common overall rank. For this, however, they need to have at least 1,000 enrolled students (calculated on the basis of approved intake). The institute also has to be a Centrally-funded institution/university.

Highly focused institutions with a single main discipline (engineering, medical, law, management, pharmacy or UG degree colleges in arts, science and commerce, etc.) with less than 1,000 enrolled students will be given only a discipline-specific rank. To be ranked on basis of discipline, schools or departments of universities or institutions (such as arts, architecture, engineering, health and life sciences, humanities and social sciences, law faculty, medical school, management departments and pharmacy) will have to register separately and provide additional data pertaining to the respective school or department. Discipline-specific ranks will be announced only for disciplines for which a significant number of institutions have gone in for ranking. The list includes some of the prominent institutions in that discipline, with an acceptable ranking score. Open universities and affiliating universities (whether state or Centre approved/funded) will not normally be registered for ranking. However, if these universities have a teaching or research campus of their own, they can participate. – Courtesy