The seventh edition of NIRF rankings is out and, as expected, it brings no major surprises. The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) ‘India Rankings 2022’ was launched in New Delhi on July 15; and barring a few exceptions, the list looks almost the same as every year.
Since 2018, the only significant difference has been in the number of participating institutions. As two years after the launch of the nationwide ranking system, the participation of all Government-funded universities, colleges, and institution was made mandatory, this year more than 7,000 institutes participated in the NIRF rankings.
As rankings is a numbers game and participants are adept at playing it, it is no surprise that most of the institutions never ascend or descend more than one or two positions. The Indian Institute of Technology Madras in Engineering category and Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, in University category have been on top for last seven years i.e., since the very inception of NIRF.
Delhi University’s Miranda House has maintained its top position for the last six years. Most of the universities, colleges, and, institutions remain on their pedestal for long stretches of time. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, has retained its 1st position for the fifth consecutive year, so did the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru, in the Law category. Delhi University with five colleges in the Top 10 list dominated the College category.
It’s a fact that long before the conception of NIRF, these top-ranking institutions, colleges, and universities have ruled the academic landscape in the country. It is almost impossible to take away their achievements or contribution. But there is a danger that ranking and accreditation system might fall prey to manipulation and maneuvering by the well-endowed organisations.
Also, NIRF aims to give the institutions/colleges/universities national exposure and scope to introspect their performance year after year. But, it is a worrying that the system is struggling to provide motivation and aspiration to those that are stuck below.
In principle, NIRF is a step in the right direction as it aims to create India’s own set of parameters and rules to evaluate and rank various universities and institutions. But, at the same time, its custodians of NIRF have to be careful or they might end up committing the same sin that the global rankings systems were once accused of— a one-size-fits-all approach.
Presently, the assessment is carried out using five parameters: Teaching, Learning and Resources (TLR); Research and Professional Practice (RP); Graduation Outcomes (GO); Outreach and Inclusivity (OI) and Peer Perception (PP). The institutions are ranked in 11 different categories.
At the launch of this year’s NIRF’s ranking list, Union Minister for Education, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan said: “A robust and objective framework for assessment, accreditation and ranking will play a major role in enhancing quality in the higher education ecosystem.” Stressing the need for overhauling the Indian education ecosystem, he said the NIRF will play a crucial role in this process.