Why is Ranking Irrelevant in Present Times?

The country is well-known for its notable and eminent educational institutions. However, the National Institutional Ranking Framework or the NIRF ranking list provides an insightful view of the top-notch institutions across the country.

The authorities and heads of NIRF have recently expressed their pride for the rigorous work they did in providing the rank to some of the most exceptional institutions fulfilling the dreams of hundreds of aspirants.

Prominent universities have been keeping a tab on the ranking list updates, and it is ironical how universities have become a part of the race to achieve the top position.

However, the learning process, as well as eliminating the existing flaws, have become overlooked activities in the ranking game. The NIRF ranking list highlighted IIT-Madras and IIT-Kanpur for achieving the number 1 and number 4 positions respectively.

It is questionable that the character, as well as the policies adopted by various institutions, have been overlooked or rather underrated due to a mere ranking system.

Running after the digits have proved that creativity, quality as well as the learning provided to prospective students possessed lesser value than the ranks achieved. Does a simple mark or position in the ranking list indicate the quality of education a university provides?  

The ranking was achieved through certain parameters like the number of PhD holders, the publication of papers, the faculty-student ratio, etc. and other numerical value for the reputation of an institution obtained via academic and industrial surveys.

The weightage provided to these factors varies from one authority to another. However, the basic principle of counting the numerical values have remained the same.

Does having more faculty indicate the quality of education provided? Or does a large number of students graduation per year indicate the worth of the degrees?

Moreover, does publication more quantities of paper portray the quality of research done? Well, the answers to these questions do not depend on the quantity rather focuses more on the quality of work delivered.

A greater number of students graduating may indicate that either the institution has an eminent educational system or it possesses a very low standard to make multiple students pass. Moreover, greater publication quantities may also indicate that incremental work.

Impactful papers will have a precise number of citations. However, an institution providing hundreds of low-quality papers will always outperform the institution will lesser good quality researches.

The motive to mention these scenarios is to point out that numerical values cannot capture quality and creativity. This fact is often considered as a week point for the rank providers.

To overcome the above situation, several authorities provide a digit to ‘perception’. This is done by allowing only special people to be a part of the survey. However, this activity still does not indicate the correct value of the institution, and the deserving centre may be pulled down to lower ranks.

Therefore, the ranking list reflects only the superficiality of the chosen parameters. The ranking list does not possess granularity since several institutions vary from one another in distinctive aspects.

The data considered for the ranking system also does not possess reliability and integrity. The data collected is usually not verified and is submitted voluntarily.

As a result, that there might be institutions who could sugar-coat and provide altered date versus. The unreliable ways in which the data is collected will be reflected at the end when the ranking list will be released.

The comparison between several institutions is made through different factors. For instance, the Indian Institute of Science has a similar character as of the IITs or the IISERs. It is put under the ‘University’ and ‘engineering’ categories.

However, the IISc is not a university and does not specialise in engineering; it is restricted to ‘chemical’. These facts reveal that the comparison is not made in a precise manner.

It is witnessed that the comparison is also made between institutions having a massive difference in the ratio of students. Older IITs are often compared to the newly established campuses based on the faculty-student ratio.

However, the comparison is useless since, in recent years, the new campuses have beaten the older campuses in performance. Therefore, such baseless comparison criteria must be eliminated.  

Another major factor which is overlooked by several people is that while the admission processes, the departmental ranking plays a greater role than the overall ranking of the institution. For instance, the overall rank of IIT Bombay is 152 as per the QS 2020 list.

The global ranking of IIT Bombay’s chemical engineering is 50. This information could be a better purpose for the students than the overall ranking.

Numerous private institutions solely aim at obtaining profits from the pupil and do not offer a great quality of education as promised. If these institutions get a position in the ranking list, then pathways of better marketing strategies are opened. Therefore, no institution deserved to be ranked. The ranking parameters are often perceived incorrectly.

Ranking of universities does not help students in getting future opportunities. The quality of work and innovativeness is always perceived. The national examinations like JEE, NEET, etc. make the ranking system irrelevant since admission is provided on the merit of the aspirant.

Moreover, the ‘deprivation points’ proposed during admissions in JNU, assist students from weak backgrounds. In the case of private institutions, the cost of education, as well as living, is considered.

The same parameter helps in comparing two distinct private centres. Apart from this, students often consider the placement graphs, salary packages offered, curriculum, exposure and other such factors while choosing the institutions for further learning. Therefore, rankings do not hold the importance as portrayed by the authorities.

However, low global ranking pushes institutions in solving the long-festering issues and take the necessary steps. Issues like faculty shortage, inadequate academic structure, infrastructure problems, etc. are solved on urgent basis once a low rank is achieved.

Certain universities pay massive attention to the management to achieve the desired rank. This keeps the education of students at stake and deprives them of the attention of the authorities.

Therefore, institutions must pay major attention to the well-being of the students. Ranks do not indicate the true character of any institution. Therefore, vital steps should be taken to maintain effective educational policies and structure without running after the mere digits of the ranking list.

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Source: NDTV.

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