National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) “India Rankings 2020”

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Context: Recently, ‘India Rankings 2020’ of Institutions of Higher Education was released. These rankings come days after the QS World University Rankings which showed that India’s best institutions like Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have slipped in the global list.

Mains: GS II- Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

About National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)
  • The NIRF is a methodology adopted by the Ministry of HRD to rank institutions of higher education in India.
  • The Framework was approved and on 29 September 2015.
  • There are separate rankings for different types of institutions depending on their areas of operation like universities and colleges, engineering institutions, management institutions, pharmacy institutions, and architecture institutions.
  • The ranking framework evaluates institutions on five broad generic groups of parameters, i.e. Teaching, Learning and Resources (TLR), Research and Professional Practice (RP), Graduation Outcomes (GO), Outreach, and Inclusivity (OI) and Perception (PR).
The objective of National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)
  • To encourage institutes to compete against each other and simultaneously work towards their growth. In addition, these rankings also attract foreign students, providing a solid base for the ‘Study in India’ programme for the growth of higher education in India.
  • NIRF is one of the criteria for private institutions' assessment for the Institutions of Eminence (IoE) Scheme.
  • IoE Scheme is a government's scheme to provide the regulatory architecture for setting up or upgrading 20 Institutions (10 from the public sector and 10 from the private sector) as world-class teaching and research institutions.
  • NIRF outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country. The methodology draws from the overall recommendations and broad understanding arrived at by a Core Committee set up by MHRD.
Broad Parameters
  • Teaching, Learning, and Resources.
  • Research and Professional Practices.
  • Graduation Outcomes.
  • Outreach and Inclusivity.
  • Peer Perception.
Criteria for ranking
  • 90% of the parameters in NIRF are completely objective and fact-based, while only 10% is based on the subjective parameter of perception by academic peers and employers.
  • In international rankings, Indian institutions’ low ranking is due to the high weightage given to the perception which is a subjective parameter.
  • It is acknowledged that Indian institutions struggle on the “internationalisation” parameter in global rankings and the NIRF rankings are believed to reach a point where international institutions will want to be included in the Indian ranking system rather than vice versa.
  • Overall, 3,771 institutions registered in the ranking framework this year which is a 20% increase in comparison to 2019.
  • This is the fifth consecutive edition of these rankings. This year ‘Dental’ category has been introduced for the first time bringing the total tally to 10 categories/subject domains.
Why need such rankings?
  • The ranking is necessary for transparency and healthy competition.
  • These rankings act as a guide to students for selection of universities based on a set of criteria and help universities to improve their performance on various ranking parameters and identify gaps in research and areas of improvement. 
  • These rankings of Institutions at the national level instill a competitive spirit amongst institutions to perform better and secure a higher rank in the international ranking.

Key Findings
  • IIT Madras retained 1st Position in Overall Ranking as well as in Engineering,
  • The IITs dominated the engineering category by occupying nine out of the top 10 spots.
  • Among universities, improvements were made by Amrita Vidya Vishwapeetham (Rank 8 to 4), BITS-Pilani (from 23 to 15), and Jadavpur University (from 6 to 5). Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) slipped six spots to Rank 17. 
  • There was a bit of a reshuffle in the college category. While Miranda College retained the top position, Lady Shri Ram College emerged as the second-best from Rank 5 last year and Hindu College dropped from Rank 2 to 3 this year. 
  • AIIMS-Delhi is the country’s top medical institute followed by PGI, Chandigarh, and Christian Medical College in Vellore.

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