National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), 2022

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    • The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) of universities and colleges for the year 2022 was recently released by the Ministry of Education (MoE)

    Key Findings

    • Overall Rankings:
      • IIT-Madras topped the overall category for the fourth consecutive year, and in engineering for the seventh straight year. 
      • The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), which topped the latest round of QS rankings among Indian institutes, was placed second in the NIRF rankings like last year. 
      • The slots from third to seventh have been secured by IIT-Bombay, IIT-Delhi, IIT-Kanpur, IIT-Kharagpur, IIT-Roorkee and IIT-Guwahati, in a repeat of 2021.
        • Followed by AIIMS and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
    • University Category:
      • The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru has topped the nation in the University category.
      • JNU  is ranked second this year. 
      • Jamia Millia Islamia has improved its position from rank 6 last year to rank 3 by replacing Banaras Hindu University which has now slipped to rank 6. 
    • New IITs:
      • Apart from the dominance of older institutes, the performance of newer IITs stands out in the latest round of the rankings, which has entered its seventh year. 
      • IIT-Jodhpur improved its rankings from 43 to 30, 
      • IIT-Mandi rose to 20 from 41, 
      • The Palakkad and Tirupati campuses broke into the top 100 categories (overall), managing 68th and 56th spots.
    • Private institutions:
      • The top-ranked private institutions are Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (16), Manipal Academy of Higher Education (17), Vellore Institute of Technology (18), Birla Institute of Technology & Science-Pilani (32), Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (34), S.R.M. Institute of Science and Technology (36), Amity University (42).
    • Medical education:
      • AIIMs occupied the top slot in the medical education category for the fifth straight year.
      • PGIMER Chandigarh and Christian Medical College, Vellore have retained the second and third positions, respectively.
    • Management:
      • IIM-Ahmedabad remained the best institute in the management segment.

    National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)

    • It was launched by the Ministry for Human Resource Development  (MHRD) [now Ministry of Education (MoE)] in September 2015
    • This framework outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country.
    • The methodology draws from the overall recommendations, broad understanding arrived at by a Core Committee set up by MHRD, to identify the broad parameters for ranking various universities and institutions. 
    • NIRF ranking is based on six parameters — 
      • Teaching-learning and resources, 
      • Research and professional practice, 
      • Graduation outcomes, 
      • Outreach and inclusivity and 
      • Perception about the institution. 
      • The overall score is computed based on the weightage allotted to each parameter and sub-parameter. 
      • Some data is provided by the institutions themselves and the rest is sourced from third-party sites.

    Criticisms of the ranking framework:

    • Insufficient quality parameters:
      • The quality of an institution is a function of several inputs and the above indicators alone may not be sufficient. 
      • For example., how can we include the skills that an institution/university imparts to its students as one of the important ingredients? Should the financial health and size of the institution not be a criterion? etc.
    • One-size-fits-all approach:
      • The diversity in the Indian education system is large. 
      • There are fresh as well as old institutions offering degrees/diplomas/certifications. 
      • There is also technology vs social sciences institutions, multi-disciplinary vs single discipline, private vs public, research-based, innovation-based, language-based or even special-purpose institutions/universities. 
      • The boundary conditions in which they operate are very different. 
      • NIRF seems to be committing the same sin that the global rankings systems were once accused of — a one-size-fits-all approach.
    • Ranking Vs accreditation:
      • Another glaring oversight is the disconnect that exists between the ranking and accreditation. 
      • Several universities have earned a NAAC A grade but figure poorly in the ranking system.
    • Lack of international faculty:
      • The world over, ranking educational institutes is a matter of debate and research. There are at least 20 global ranking agencies that measure quality on various parameters. 
      • Two factors that are absent and differentiate us from the global ranking systems are our lack of international faculty and students and the inadequacy of our research to connect with the industry. 

    Suggestions and way ahead

    • Coherence with NAAC and NBA Scores:
      • NIRF must take into consideration the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and National Board of Accreditation (NBA) scores. 
    • Student-faculty ratio:
      • Improvement has to be made to our student-faculty ratio. 
      • This is important because more faculty implies more students, more research, more outreach, more ideas, and more projects.
    • International faculty and students:
      • International faculty and students will come only if they see a value proposition in our institutions, an indicator of quality. 
      • Industry connect will happen only when the research translates into improved or new processes and products. 
      • To make this happen, NIRF has to have top experts not only from the country but also from outside in its core committees.
    • US Model:
      • In the US, the government allows stakeholders to sue the universities if they renege on delivering what they claim. 
      • A Bill to introduce such accountability was also introduced in the Indian Parliament in 2011 but it never saw the light of day.

    QS World University Rankings

    • It is an annual publication of university rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds. 
    • The QS system comprises three parts
      • The global overall ranking, 
      • The subject rankings, and 
      • Five independent regional tables—namely 
        • Asia, 
        • Latin America, 
        • Emerging Europe and Central Asia, 
        • The Arab Region, and 
        • BRICS.
    • It is viewed as one of the three most widely read university rankings in the world, along with Academic Ranking of World Universities and Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
    • Criticisms:
      • It has been criticized for its over-reliance on subjective indicators and reputation surveys, which tend to fluctuate over time. 
      • Concern also exists regarding the global consistency and integrity of the data QS uses to generate its rankings.