HRD list of education institutions is a step in the right direction

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has come out with an indigenous ranking framework for all engineering and management institutions. Participation in the ranking process was open to all the institutions though it was kept voluntary for the private ones. This is the first time that a reliable, transparent and authentic ranking system was being implemented in the country for higher education.

The primary purpose of this framework was to galvanize Indian institutions towards a competitive environment across the world. It is a revolutionary step to give the students a plethora of choice. The system was designed to put pressure on educational institutions to perform well and provide what they promise in their prospectus. 

The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) introduced five broad generic parameters to judge an institute – Teaching, Learning and Resources; Research, Consulting and Collaborative Performance; Graduation Outcome; Outreach and Inclusivity; and Perception.

In the absence of a reliable and comprehensive database that could supply all the relevant data required for computing the scores for ranking, it became imperative that individual institutions desirous of participating in the ranking exercise provide data.

A separate committee, Implementation Core Committee (ICC), was set up to oversee the verification of the data collected and implementation of the ranking work. The first list of the rankings is finally out to help the students make an informed choice while choosing an institute.

Among the universities, the list is headed by Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, followed closely by the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai. The ranks below them are occupied by traditional, multi-disciplinary universities – Jawaharlal Nehru University, University of Hyderabad and Tezpur University. Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences (BITS, Pilani) has secured the 9th position in this list.

In the management institute’s rankings, the IIMs predictably hog the top slots. IIM Bangalore bags the first rank, followed by IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow, IIM Udaipur and IIM Kozhikode. The International Management Institute, New Delhi, a private institution performed well on all the parameters to secure the 7th position.

The IITs (old and new) lead the league tables in the engineering category, occupying all the top ranks. The top six places belong to IIT Madras, IIT Bombay, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Delhi, IIT Kanpur and IIT Roorkee. The new IITs of Hyderabad, Gandhinagar, Ropar and Patna complete the top 10 positions. It is appalling that IIT Guwahati and IIT BHU, which mentor the new IITs, have been ranked below their protégés. Another flaw is that the Vellore Institute of Technology, a private institute, is placed above IIT BHU in the rankings.

An institute where one can get a seat in CSE via management quota, ranks higher than institutes where to get a seat in the same branch, one is expected to secure a rank within 1,000 in JEE Advance. 

Having said that, the MHRD list is a good first step towards a transparent and reliant ranking system, as private rankings have never been accurate and institutes have long been fooling candidates with attractive prospectus and purchased ranks. It has a long way to go as rankings, whether they are right or wrong, not only affect current and future students but retrospectively affect the alumni as well.

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