The days of ranking Indian educational institutions by private agencies might soon become history as the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) came out with an indigenous ranking framework for engineering and management institutes on Tuesday. The first ranking list which will cover government as well as private institutes would be completed by early April next year. Mail Today was the first to report that the MHRD had decided to rank educational institutions in the country.
"It is a revolutionary step. Before the next academic year, we will manage to give our students a plethora of choices on the basis of the national framework, which is very transparent, which engages not only the institutes, regulators but the citizens at large," Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani said while releasing the framework.
"This is the first time that a reliable, transparent and authentic ranking system is being implemented in the country for Higher Education. The primary purpose of this framework is to galvanize Indian institutions towards a competitive environment that exists in the world today. I sincerely hope that institutions will use this ranking framework to introspect and make sincere efforts to improve their standing," Irani said in the framework's document.
Irani had earlier told Mail Today that a ranking system for Indian institutions of higher learning is significant as it would empower students as well as parents to make a conscious choice-based on the rankings, removed from the hubris surrounding these institutions. The ranking system has been opened to institutions in the private sector too, though participation has been kept voluntary.
The system itself would put pressure on educational institutions to perform well and provide what they promise in their prospectus, Irani had told Mail Today. While ranking methods have been worked out for engineering and management institutions, those for other domains, including pharmacy, architecture and universities, could be announced in the next one month.
The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country. The methodology had been prepared by a core committee set up by the ministry to identify the broad parameters for ranking.
The parameters broadly cover 'Teaching, Learning and Resources,' 'Research, Professional Practices and Collaborative Performance (RPC)', 'Graduation Outcomes(GO)', 'Outreach and Inclusivity (OI)', and 'Perception'.
Irani credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for encouraging an India-specific ranking framework since no Indian institute had found place in the global ranking list by international agencies.
The framework lays special emphasis on representation of women and socially challenged persons among students as well as faculty, apart from regional diversity and representation of physically challenged students.
"We are working as per the reservation policy. We are not altering it. India is one of the few countries that provides for affirmative action and institutions must be socially relevant," said secretary higher education V S Oberoi.