The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) was approved by the MHRD and launched by Honourable Minister of Human Resource Development on 29th September 2015. This framework outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country. The methodology draws from the overall recommendations broad understanding arrived at by a Core Committee set up by MHRD, to identify the broad parameters for ranking various universities and institutions.
The parameters broadly cover “Teaching, Learning and Resources,” “Research and Professional Practices,” “Graduation Outcomes,” “Outreach and Inclusivity,” and “Perception”.
NIRF is the first-ever effort by the government to rank higher education institutions (HEIs) in the country. Before NIRF’s launch in 2016, HEIs were usually ranked by private entities, especially news magazines. While participation in the NIRF was voluntary in the initial years, it was made compulsory for all government-run educational institutions in 2018.
The idea of NIRF has its roots in the global rankings. The union government and government-run HEIs were quite upset about their standing in QS World University Rankings and the Times Higher Education World University Ranking. During the Winter Session of Parliament in 2015, the then Education Minister Smriti Irani had attributed their poor performance in global league tables to subjective ranking methodology. “This is primarily because of the criteria used by these agencies for ranking, which depend a lot on the perception of a select group of persons,” she had said in Parliament.
To counter this, India decided to emulate the Chinese example. When China encountered the same problem about two decades ago, they responded with a university ranking system of their own. The Shanghai Rankings, done by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, was born out of this in 2003. Nine Chinese universities and three from India (Indian Institute of Science (IISc), IIT Kharagpur and IIT Delhi) made it to the top 500 in the first edition of the Shanghai Rankings.
India too decided to start its own rankings, with parameters that would be more suitable to the Indian context. There was one big difference, though. While the Shanghai Rankings were international in character from the first year itself, the NIRF only ranked Indian HEIs. The long-term plan was to make it an international league table.
Table: List of top 100 most prominent institutes of India out of approximately 700 overall Institutions (not included colleges, please see the exclusion list for more details through reference).
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