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The Editorial Analysis- Rankings that Make No Sense

NIRF’s ranking of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: Governance, Administration and Challenges- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

The Editorial Analysis- Rankings that Make No Sense_40.1

 

NIRF’s ranking of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in News

  • Recently released the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)’s ranking of higher education institutions (HEIs) has received considerable flak from different sections of academia.

NIRF India Ranking 2021

 

NIRF’s ranking of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)

  • About NIRF Ranking: The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) is a framework adopted in 2015 by the Ministry of Education (Erstwhile Ministry of Human Resource Development) to rank institutions of higher education in India.
  • Categories for Ranking: NIRF ranks higher education institutions under 11 different categories. Initially, there were only four categories in the first NIRF Ranking 2016. The 11 categories are-
    1. Management
    2. Engineering
    3. Universities
    4. Pharmacy
    5. Architecture
    6. Medical
    7. Dental
    8. Law
    9. Colleges
    10. Research Institutions
    11. Overall
  • Parameters used for NIRF Rankings: Assessment of Higher Educational Institutions are done by the ministry on the following five parameters-
    1. Teaching, Learning, and Resources (TLR)
    2. Research and Professional Practice (RP)
    3. Graduation Outcomes (GO)
    4. Outreach and Inclusivity (OI)
    5. Peer Perception

Associated Concerns with NIRF India Ranking 2022

  • Data Fudging: An analysis of the data submitted by some multi-discipline private universities participating in various disciplines under the NIRF provides evidence of data fudging.
    • There seems to be a lack of a rigorous system of verification by the NIRF of the data submitted by HEIs.
    • For instance, the faculty-student ratio (FSR) is an important criterion for ranking.
    • Evidence suggests that some private multi-discipline universities have claimed the same faculty in more than one discipline.
    • Faculty in liberal arts have been claimed as faculty in law too, to claim an improved FSR.
  • Lack of Transparency: The NIRF requires the data submitted to it be published by all the participating HEIs on their website so that such data can be scrutinised.
    • Some private multi-discipline universities have not granted free access to such data on their website; instead, they require an online form to be filled along with the details of the person seeking access.
    • Such non-transparency is antithetical to the ranking exercise.
    • There is also discrepancy in the data submitted to the NIRF and the data on the websites of these institutions.
    • For instance, the data uploaded on the websites omit details on the number, name, qualification and experience of the faculty.
  • Gap in Methodology Employed: There is a gap between the methodology employed for accreditation purposes and for ranking purposes.
    • While the National Assessment and Accreditation Council gives due weightage to publications in UGC-Care listed journals, the NIRF uses publication data only from Scopus and Web of Science.

 

Conclusion

  • Severe methodological and structural issues in the NIRF undermine the ranking process. The methodology must be revised in consultation with all the stakeholders.

 

NIRF Ranking 2022

NIRF Ranking 2022

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