The National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) was the first-ever initiative by the Ministry of Education to rank the higher education institutes of the country. The sixth edition of NIRF rankings released on September 9, 2021, showed that IIT Madras, IISc Bangalore, and IIT Bombay swept the top positions of the rankings. Before NIRF's ranking system was launched in 2016, the institutes would be ranked by private entities like news magazines. Initially, the participation was voluntary; however, in 2018, the government made it mandatory for all government-run higher educational institutes.
Why Was The Ranking Started?
In 2015, the union government and all the government-led Higher Educational Institutes were upset about their global ranking in the QS World University Ranking and the Times Higher World Education Ranking. The then Minister of Education, Smriti Irani, spoke about the poor performance of universities and attributed the outcome to subjective ranking methodology.
So, under the indigenous system, all the educational institutes are assessed on five parameters: teaching, learning and resources, research and professional practices, graduation outcomes, outreach and inclusivity, and perception. NIRF ranks institutions across 11 categories, including overall national ranking, universities, engineering, college, medical, management, pharmacy, law, architecture, dental, and research.
Takeaways From The Rankings
Delhi was amongst the best performers, with four of the institutes in the national capital securing a space in the top 20. IIT, Delhi secured the third rank, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) was placed 8th, Jamia Milia Islamia was on the 16th, and the famous University of Delhi ranked 18th. As a state, Tamil Nadu could secure eight places in the top fifty, with IIT Madras being the first.
The University of Kerala, from India's most literate state, ranked at the 42nd position. Southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana performed well and secured praise-worthy positions. Among western states, Maharashtra made its mark because of IIT Bombay, Savitribai Phule University, Indian Institute of Science Education & Research, Pune and Homi Bhabha National Institute in the top thirty.
In the Management stream, four IIMs bagged the first four places. IIM Ahemdabad was on the top, followed by IIMs from Bangalore, Calcutta and Lucknow. Jamia Hamdard, Panjab University and National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Mohali secured the first three positions. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences secured the top slot in the medical stream, followed by the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh.
The northeast states were among the worst rankings performers, with no university from the region in the top fifty. Three higher educational institutes from Assam, one from Meghalaya, and one from Mizoram featured in the top 100. Apart from that, only 36.12 per cent of institutes have faculty members who are PhD holders, whereas 63.88 per cent have faculty members with Master's Degree.
Though the rankings were launched to improve the ranking of Indian universities on the global platform, NIRF rankings do not consider international universities yet.