[Answered] What are the key features of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)? Also, discuss the pros and cons of this ranking system.

As Indian universities needed to be ranked based on Indian approach, Ministry of Human Resource and Development set up National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF). It outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country. It is first of its kind that comprehensively assess an institution and ranks higher educational institutions in India.

Key features:
• Indian approach to ranking: It ranks institutions based on the five broad parameters – Teaching, learning and resources; collaborative practice and professional performance; graduation outcomes; outreach and inclusivity; and perception.Thereparamaters are further elaborated into subcategories.
• Separate ranking for for different types of institutions depending on their areas of operation: Ranking methods are provided for 6 categories of institutions, they are Engineering, Management, Pharmacy, Architecture, Universities and Colleges.
• Verifiable data: Data obtained to measure the performance is such that it is easily available.
• Annually: An independent and autonomous body, National Board of Accreditation (NBA), would do the ranking annually.
• Voluntary: Initially, it will be voluntary for institutions to sign up for the

• India specific ranking: India specific ranking system would reduce the dependence on the international agency ranking which does not take exclusivity and gives ranking.
• Transparency: Verifiable data would help in setting up as transparent ranking system
• Status of institutions: As it included both public and private institutions it provides the actual status of higher educational institutions in the country so that students could make informed choices.
• Improve competitiveness: This will help state as well as institutional for self-check and correcting themselves. Thus promoting excellence.
• It is a step towards bringing the Indian institutes on a global platform.

• No clear specifics about weightage given to India-specific parameters.
• As it is voluntary not all institutions are covered in the ranking system.
• Disciplines like literature, commerce and social work appear to have been left out.
• Broad based institutions as the IITsare listed under the “engineering” category. They should have competed under the category of “universities.
• The first ranking released this year used Self-verification criteria
for the data submitted. Lack of cross-verification of data
affects the authenticity of the data.
• While making the framework, not much effort has into taking into consideration views of state funded and private institution, exercise was mostly done by Central institutions.
Way forward:
• Normalisation of performance index: Normalisation would help as there is huge resource gap between state funded and private institutions.
• Separate scheme: A separate scheme for central, state and private institutions might be better, and private industries would be voluntarily made to compete with the state funded institutions.
• Measures like extensive cross-examination of data,systematic and monitored surveys,inclusion of state representatives in the NIRF team would help obtaining a comprehensive ranking.


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