NIRF India ranking – gaffes galore!

NIRF India ranking – gaffes galore!

The first ever official ranking of the top academic institutes in the country was released earlier this month by the union government with much pomp and show. Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani released the National Institutional Ranking Framework or NIRF Rankings 2016 in New Delhi for four categories of institutions - engineering, management, pharmacy and universities.

Method in the madness’ seemed to be a well-structured approach with framework outlines, recommendations and broad understanding arrived at, by a Core Committee set up by MHRD, comprising of VCs of JNU, Central Univ Gujrat, Delhi Univ, Directors of IIT KGP & Madras, IIM Bangalore & Ahmedabad and MHRD office.

What looked to be a commendable initiative and appeared to have been conceived well, unfortunately exhibited major inconsistencies especially in the management category. Some of them which do not even have a campus and operate out of a shared campus were ranked right on top of the list. Some eligible ones were dropped below or even left out.

Ranking of the Engineering Colleges and Universities were still a notch better. And as one would visualize the IITs commanded the top slots followed by the NITs. Though the fact remains that when it comes to quality there is a huge gap between the top 7 IITs ( Kharagpur, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Roorkee, Kanpur, and Hyderabad) and the rest 13; similarly between the top 5 NITs and the rest 25.

In the university rankings much deserving JNU & Hyderabad University were listed below IISc Bangalore and Institute of Chemical Technology Mumbai in 3 rdand 4th position. Critics could see this as MHRD’s course corrective action after all those goof ups, but in all fairness the slots were much deserving and made sense to a great extent. Jamia Millia Islamia being ranked 83 out of the 100 and NMIMS at 70 whereas Banasthali Vidyapith 29 th; Periyar University at 47, Jaypee University, Solan at 37; Karunya Univ at 48; Algappa University at 49; was however upsetting. Preliminary assumption was to pass it off as just one more ranking where the data collected or provided, probably have churned out such incongruous results.

But, when it came to the management category the results were dreadfully irrational and questioned the entire process. While the methodology used and weightage remained more or less structured and same for all the categories of ranking, it was surprising to see such results for B Schools.

Broad parameters in which the NIRF team zeroed down were as follows. Each broad parameter had several layers of sub parameters.

Institutes were segregated in 2 categories A&B, however results for Category B were not declared citing ‘inconsistency’ in the NIRF site.

Sample this:

IIM Udaipur is ranked 5th by NIRF above IIM Kozhikode (ranked 6th) & IIM Indore (ranked 10th) and IIM Ranchi at 28th.

Fact Check : Avg. CTC offered at IIM Kozhikhode in the year 2015 INR 15.42 Lacs (INR 17.10 in 2016) and IIM Indore INR 13.90 Lacs (15.67 in 2016) whereas IIM Udaipur which has no campus of its own as of now ( so does IIM Ranchi) offered Avg. CTC of INR 10.26 Lacs in 2015 and no placement data published for 2016 yet. Full time faculty data as listed by NIRF for the 3 IIMs : has been 58 at Kozhikode; 73 at Indore, 23 at Ranchi and 21 at Udaipur. Some of the parameters and scores in below table:

Surprised? Don’t be, there’s more to come…

  1. IMI Delhi ranked 7th while MDI Gurgaon ranked 11th followed by XLRI at 13th place. And ahead of XLRI was IMI Kolkata at 12th place !!

Fact Check – MDI Gurgaon (Ranked 11) which generally is ranked after IIM Ahmedabad, Bombay, Calcutta and Lucknow; followed by XLRI (Ranked 13).

While the above table (prepared from NIRF data) indicates MDI Gurgaon and XLRI clearly ahead in almost all aspects, compared to the two IMIs.

Hilarious? Hang on!

  1. VIT ranked at 17th before IIM Raipur at 18th; IIM Rohtak at 19th and IIM Shillong at 20th place.

Fact Check – Just released placement data of VIT Business School (NIRF Rank doesn’t say VIT Business School it says VIT) reveals the Avg CTC of 2016 to be INR 4.5 Lac. Compare that with IIM Raipur - Avg. CTC INR 12.51; IIM Rohtak- INR 11.78 Lacs and IIM Shillong - INR 14 Lacs in 2016.

NIRF data under management category says VIT has 64 faculties. But, the data considered by NIRF for VIT was for VIT Business School or VIT is not mentioned. If the data was for VIT Business School then for which campus - Chennai or Vellore? Or both campuses – combined? Going through VITs Chennai and Vellore websites it was found - 19 faculties listed in Chennai and 26 faculties listed in Vellore. Combined 45 faculties so where did the extra 19 faculties come from?

IMI Kolkata was prompt to highlight their NIRF rank. VIT came out with advertisements in major dailies across the county and highlighted it in their homepage too.

It doesn’t stop here.

  1. Thiagarajar School of Management was ranked 15th before SPJIMR at 16th and FORE School of Management at 23rd. Now, if you are wondering where is Thiagarajar College .. let us tell you the college is 52 years old based out of Madurai.

Fact Check - Avg. CTC offered at SPJIMR is INR 19 lacs and at FORE School INR 9 lacs per annum for 2016. Thiagarajar doesn’t mention placement data on their site but as per NIRF data the Avg. CTC was found to be INR 5.3 Lac.

Going by the above table (Source - NIRF data) it is difficult to make out why is SPJIMR at 16th while IMI Kolkata at 12th and Thiagarajar at 15th.

Also interesting to note :

nd continues..

  1. BIT Mesra (in the management category) was ranked 25th above IIM Ranchi, whereas, in reality BIT Mesra’s Department of Management placement data reflect an avg CTC of INR 4 lac per annum for past 2 years and is barely managing to attract students.

Some more …

  1. IIFT Delhi, one of the most prestigious management school of the country, had no mention in the Management category but was ranked 81st in the list of Universities!

According to reports, IIFT Director Surajit Mitra, in a communication to Secretary, Department of Higher Education has stated that the outcome of the exercise shows that there are “very glaring gaps” which needs to be addressed urgently.

  1. Some colleges, we came to know exist, from NIRF list.

SSN School of Management - 33rd; Rajagiri College Of Social Sciences – 36th and Rajagiri Business School – 37th; Sri Krishna College Of Engineering and Technology - Coimbatore at 41; Adhiyamaan College Of Engineering (MBA Programme) at 44; RVS Technical Campus at 47; B.N. College Of Engineering & Technology (BNCET) at 44.

  1. Could not find some of the top B Schools of the country in the list eg. XIMB; IMT Ghaziabad; Symbiosis Institute of Business Management; K J Somaiya. Assuming that they may not have participated or provided data on time, a line of confirmation on the same would have definitely helped.

Our take:

If the methodology adopted was rational and framework well-structured where did it go wrong?

Some institutes like FORE School of Management (23rd) and Great Lakes (31st) have been ranked reasonably well using the same approach whereas an IMI Delhi and Thiagrajar ranked 7th and 15th!!

Does it not sound a massive alarm? Where is the audit team? Who has cross checked the data? Who is responsible for the unethical practices, if any?

According to a PTI report, Smriti Irani, Union HRD Minister said that NIRF's efforts are to make this ranking system an annual affair so that students can know about an institute before enrolling.

Nothing can be more disastrous, if these rankings are to be considered seriously by the aspiring students to choose the right B School. It is a critical decision for a student when it comes to selecting a college as it is directly linked to her/his career. Student community is not that naïve today specially ones coming from Tier 1 & 2 cities. But even if few people are influenced by this it can be termed as pure misguidance and the accountability lies with NIRF, for sure.

As for the colleges trying to take advantage of this incongruence and promoting their institutes by blatantly advertising these ranks (knowing pretty well that they do not deserve such ranks) are foolish to think that they will succeed in luring students just by exhibiting NIRF ranks.


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