It is indeed a revolutionary step. It also brings closer to the realization of a long felt need – accountability based on sheer performance.
Though, time and again several magazines and newspapers and other private agencies have come out with their own rankings of the Indian educational institutes based on certain parameters, when it comes to global rankings majority of the Indian universities and institutes including the IITs have never been able to make the cut
Unfortunately, despite having many reputed institutes across the length and breadth of the country, Indian institutes have failed to achieve coveted global rankings when it comes to academic performances. Also, the fact remains that many educational institutes, especially the private ones, though with abysmal performances are still thriving. Thanks to our educational systems.
But, soon the days of ranking Indian educational institutions by private agencies will become history as the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has come out with an indigenous ranking framework for educational institutions in the country.
To start with the indigenous ranking framework for engineering and management institutes has been launched by the union HRD Minister Smriti Irani recently. The first ranking list which will cover government as well as private institutes would be completed by early April next year, much before the start of the next academic year.
“This is the first time that a reliable, transparent and authentic ranking system is being implemented in the country for Higher Education. The primary purpose of this framework is to galvanize Indian institutions towards a competitive environment that exists in the world today. I sincerely hope that institutions will use this ranking framework to introspect and make sincere efforts to improve their standing,” said Smriti Irani. The system itself would put pressure on educational institutions to perform well and provide what they promise in their prospectus, added HRD Minister.
The ranking framework would provide a plethora of choices on the basis of the rankings. The rankings would empower students as well as parents to make a conscious choice-based on the rankings, removed from the hubris surrounding these institutions. The ranking system has been opened to institutions in the private sector too, though participation has been kept voluntary. Union HRD Ministry has assured that the national framework would be very transparent and engages not only the institutes, regulators but the citizens at large.
The India-specific ranking framework is designed in such a manner that institutions, belonging to different fields like engineering and management, would be compared separately in their own respective peer groups.
While ranking methods have been worked out for engineering and management institutions, those for other domains, including pharmacy, architecture and universities, could be announced in the next one month. The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country.
The methodology had been prepared by a core committee set up by the ministry to identify the broad parameters for ranking. The parameters broadly cover ‘Teaching, Learning and Resources,’ ‘Research, Professional Practices and Collaborative Performance (RPC)’, ‘Graduation Outcomes(GO)’, ‘Outreach and Inclusivity (OI)’, and ‘Perception’.
The India-specific ranking framework lays special emphasis on representation of women and socially challenged persons among students as well as faculty, apart from regional diversity and representation of physically challenged students.
With the underlining theme that the ranking be designed that enable an apple-to-apple comparison, it has been decided that institutes in different sectoral field such as engineering, management etc would be compared separately.
The ranking framework will be across disciplines which take into account the perception of an institute, outreach, research activity and inclusivity through reservations. The five parameters used for ranking are “teaching learning and resources, research, consulting and collaborative performance, graduation outcome, outreach and inclusivity (through reservations) and perception. Each of these has been further subdivided into nearly 20 sub criteria to comprehensively assess an institute.
Unlike the international ranking agencies, the framework follows an Indian approach which considers India-centric parameters like diversity and inclusiveness apart from excellence in teaching, learning and research. The rankings will cover all institutes offering courses on engineering, law, management and humanities. The first ranking list which will cover government as well as private institutes would be completed by early April next year.
Developed by a team of experts in education and heads of institutions, the portal and the framework are currently available for engineering and management institutions. A core committee comprised National Board of Accreditation chairman (NBA) Surendra Prasad, IIT-Kharagapur director PP Chakraborty, IIT-Madras director Bhaskar Ramamurthi, besides the higher education secretary and HRD ministry officials.
The framework for engineering and management institutes would be extended to other disciplines such as architecture, pharmacy and humanities and for universities in a month’s time. Comprehensive universities comprising several academic programmes in Arts, Humanities, Science etc should similarly be compared separately in their own respective peer groups.
It is widely expected that the national ranking framework methodology outlined would start a new era of accountability in higher education in the country.
- M D Sridharan.