Institute ranking system : The Tribune India

Institute ranking system

Doesn’t serve purpose of improving standards of learning

Institute ranking system

Photo for representation only. File photo

The National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) manages to create a buzz in the media; and the ranks of some of these higher education institutions often spring a surprise. While it is laudable that the government is promoting a benchmark mostly based on objective indicators, it is a matter of concern that this does not serve the purpose of improving the standards of learning. The zeal to tick the right boxes can give results that do not conform to the ground reality, raising questions about the fairness and reliability of the assessment parameters. For some, the rankings are at best indicative of an institute’s response to the NIRF’s questionnaire.

The impact of the NIRF rankings on improving students’ enrolment, too, is considered limited. That largely depends on the reputation, fee structure, infrastructural facilities, location and research output. India having a global ranking system of its own may be a project in the making, but eventually, quality and vastly improved standards are what will bring international students and faculty to the country, not hollow validation based on scores that project a distorted image. The industry connect will happen when research leads to better outcomes. That requires liberal funding for institutions that show promise, whether or not they figure high on rankings, putting an end to the meaningless exercise of churning out worthless, amateurish research papers just to get an additional credit or help an individual acquire a degree.

The idea behind rankings should be to inform decisions, not drive admissions. As the NIRF evolves and involves more institutions, guidance from foreign and Indian experts should be of immense help, besides an honest review of its performance, the shortcomings and the additional parameters it needs to incorporate, like the financial health and size of the institution. The success of the endeavour lies in how beneficial it can be for students.

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