NIRF-2018: Urgency of a Reform in Higher Education and also NIRF

Posted on April 6, 2018


Author:  Sanjay Goel


This is in continuation with my previous article (at  in 2017 on this theme.   A few  academics have already written newspaper and blog articles about NIRF 2018 and raised the doubts about the purpose of this exercise wrt the goal of improving the quality of higher education. 

The NIRF 2018 is larger than the NIRF 2017 as it includes the new categories of medical. architecture, and law as well.  Though the number of institutes in these categories are very small,  25 in medical,  and 10 each in architecture and law.  Because of these new categories, more than 40 more institutes have been added to the corpus. Also in the old categories, many new institutes have participated in the ranking exercise. 

In all the 9 lists in different categories, only the following 15 universities/institutes have scored >=75 marks out of 100:
1. AIIMS (Medical)
2. IISc (University)
3. PGIMER, Chandigarh (Medical)
4-8. 5 old IITs- Madras, Bombay, Delhi, Kharagpur, Kanpur (Engineering)
(IIT Kharagpur also for Architecture)
9-11. 3 old IIMs- Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta (Management)
12. IIPER, Mohali (Pharmacy)
13. Jamia Hamdard (Pharmacy)
14. Punjab University (Pharmacy)
15. National Law School of India, Bengaluru

Out of the above only AIIMS has scored >= 90. 

It is very shocking to see that a huge majority of the top 100 NIRF-2018 listed institutes in all the 9 lists have scored less than 60 marks out of 100.   

This ranking diverts the attention from an overall very poor state of higher education in India where most of the top 100 in all these lists don’t even score 60/100.   So instead of ranking the top 100 institutes, the NIRF should just list out those institutes/universities that score 90-100, 75-89, 60-74 as per their criteria that must continue to evolve through debates. And just leave all others from unnecessarily getting declared as a top university/institute whereas they don’t actually even score 60/100.

And then every year, at the time of the announcement of this ranking, the MHRD must also explain why the total number of institutes/universities in all these categories (call it the good old first class for >60/100) have not increased. It must also announce the initiatives and reforms to help more universities/institutes to move up to these categories without diluting the criteria. This may create a better purpose, and also a better piece of information for the public, policymakers, and also the education managers.



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