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A Model for Quality and Inclusive Education, The Hindu Editorial Analysis

The Hindu Editorial Analysis: The Editorial Analysis of The Hindu Newspaper Editorial Articles aimed at simplifying various concepts relevant to the UPSC and other State PSC Exams. The Editorial Analysis helps in expanding the knowledge base as well as framing better quality mains answers. Today’s Hindu Editorial Analysis of ‘A Model for Quality and Inclusive Education’ discusses National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) ranking of various states and then presents Tamil Nadu’s model for quality and inclusive education based on its performance on the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) Ranking.

A Model for Quality and Inclusive Education in News

The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), implemented by the Ministry of Education to evaluate higher education institutions in India, has highlighted an interesting trend in Tamil Nadu.

  • The 2023 NIRF ranking of the top 100 colleges in India demonstrates Tamil Nadu’s consistent success in providing high-quality and inclusive higher education.
  • This achievement aligns with the state’s motto of pursuing development with social justice, offering valuable insights for other states.

NIRF Ranking Methodology

The NIRF ranking methodology incorporates five parameters with varying weights to assess college quality: Teaching, Learning and Resources (40%), Graduation Outcome (25%), Research and Professional Practices (15%), Outreach and Inclusivity (10%), and Perception (10%).

  • Each parameter consists of several components, further contributing to the overall score.
  • Although not flawless, this ranking metric is reasonably robust as it employs comprehensive and well-curated parameters.

NIRF ranking Participation

Over the years, the number of colleges participating in the NIRF ranking has increased significantly, from 535 in 2017 to 1,659 in 2020, and further to 2,746 in 2023. Despite this five-fold increase, the participating colleges still represent only a small fraction of the total number of colleges in India.

  • As the NIRF ranking has gained widespread recognition and credibility, it is likely that many high-quality colleges choose to participate in the assessment.
  • Securing a position within the top 100 brings these institutions reputation and boosts demand for admissions.
  • Conversely, non-participating colleges are more likely to have lower quality standards and lack proficiency in various ranking parameters.
  • Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that many good-quality colleges actively participate in the ranking process.

Share of States in NIRF Top Ranked Collages

Among the top 100 colleges ranked by NIRF in 2023, Tamil Nadu claims the highest share with 35 colleges, followed by Delhi with 32, Kerala with 14, and West Bengal with 8. These four states together account for a substantial 89% of the top-ranked colleges, indicating a significant disparity in other regions.

  • Notably, larger states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Odisha have no representation in the top 100.
  • Similarly, the other southern states have a comparatively low share, with Karnataka having two colleges, Telangana having one, and Andhra Pradesh having none.
  • While the overall pattern of four states (Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Kerala, and West Bengal) dominating the majority of top-ranked colleges remained consistent throughout the years, there have been some variations in the share of other states in certain years.
  • For example, Andhra Pradesh had one top-ranked college in both 2022 and 2021, while Karnataka’s share increased to three in 2021. Apart from Gujarat and Maharashtra, the larger states had limited representation in most years.

Case of Tamil Nadu

Among the top 100 colleges ranked by NIRF in 2023, Tamil Nadu claims the highest share with 35 colleges. Tamil Nadu’s share (35%) is more than double the combined share of the other four southern states (17%).

  • The exceptional performance of Tamil Nadu in terms of top-ranking colleges has been consistent rather than sporadic.
  • Analyzing the NIRF rankings since 2017, Tamil Nadu has consistently been the leading contributor of top-ranked colleges in India.
  • Even when considering the last five years, during which the number of participating colleges in the NIRF ranking significantly increased, Tamil Nadu maintained its dominant position, except for 2022 when it shared the lead with Delhi.

Tamil Nadu’s Inclusive Model

Out of the 35 top-ranked colleges in Tamil Nadu, Chennai accounts for only nine (26%) of them. Coimbatore, with an equal share, consistently competes with Chennai. Tiruchirappalli follows with five colleges (14%). The remaining 12 colleges are spread across 11 different locations. This distribution pattern has been observed in previous years as well.

  • While urban dwellers are likely to be the primary beneficiaries in Chennai, Coimbatore, and Tiruchirappalli, it is also probable that the top 23 colleges from these three cities, representing three distinct regions, serve the poor and disadvantaged social groups from both these regions and neighboring areas.
  • This is facilitated by Tamil Nadu’s high reservation quotas and effective implementation of reservation policies.
  • Furthermore, since more than one-third of the top-ranked colleges are situated in various places, they not only cater to rural and underserved areas but also provide an opportunity for quality education to students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds who may not have the resources or social networks to study in colleges located in Chennai, Coimbatore, and Tiruchirappalli.
  • Therefore, colleges located in Chennai and other districts in Tamil Nadu contribute to both quality education and inclusivity, aligning with the goal of promoting development with social justice.
  • This consistent trend in Tamil Nadu’s experience is comparable only to Kerala, which exhibits similar characteristics.


The consistent and remarkable performance of Tamil Nadu in higher education highlights the possibility of achieving both quality and inclusion simultaneously. This significant achievement should serve as a catalyst for introspection among other southern states that possess a robust and inclusive social welfare framework. They should examine the reasons behind their lagging performance and be inspired to take proactive measures to address the existing issues and improve the quality and inclusivity of higher education in their respective regions.

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