NIRF rankings

An exercise to precisely know on comparative analysis about the performance of the Universities and other professional institutes across the country known as National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) which was initiated in 2015 and the annual ranking released by the Union Education Minister, is precisely to recognise the level of working of the top educational institutions in states and UTs on various parameters . Such a ranking differs for all the categories where set parameters and weighted averages are adopted for the purpose. In respect of where do the Universities and other professional institutes in Jammu and Kashmir stand through such ratings, while being important to know simultaneously, provides an insight into the working of critical areas like teaching, learning and resources , research work and professional practices and the like where performance and levels of weaknesses are got to be known to be bettered and rectified respectively. Quality teaching and its “quality” outcome is the kernel of such ranking and, perhaps, this message is sought to be conveyed to the top educational institutions in the country if we have to stand at a commanding position at the pedestal of international standards of learning which must be the envisioned motive behind such an exercise.
Kashmir University ranked at 48th position performing better than the Jammu University which ranked at 68th position among the top 100 universities given the same conditions of operation and infrastructural support, provides an opportunity to know not only how the weaknesses could be addressed but how side by side, ratings and points secured could be bettered in the next year’s similar exercise . That Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University along with NIT Srinagar having secured ranking among top 100 Engineering Institutes of the country reinforces the hopes all round that Jammu and Kashmir could easily compete with other such institutes of the country so far known as having exclusive domain in imparting professional education and training to students due to teaching and training faculties and related facilities considered to be of better quality.
As to why instead of bettering its last ranking , Jammu University having slipped several notches as compared to previous year’s ratings must cause some deep concern and thinking among the top hierarchy of the University about its management and other related affairs and why it could not get its notable niche among the top 50 Universities of the country. It is , however, commendable for SMVDU having found its place among 25 ranking Architecture Institutions of India. With this positive scenario, more disciplines and varied technical fields are awaiting to be adopted by the top educational and technical institutes of the Union Territory. However, while the process of opening up of more colleges and other professional institutions in the UT has been a very positive development ,on the other hand necessary infrastructure especially that of adequate number of faculty members has been found not commensurate with the requirement and faculty student ratio has thus been found unfavourable and thus a hump in imparting quality education. In case of non availability of faculty on full time basis , the same could be managed on ad-hoc or contract basis but never let shortage of faculty impinge upon the quality of learning.
At the same time, there should really be an in-depth study into at least broad categories like teaching, learning and resources, Research and Professional Practices, Graduation Outcomes, Outreach and Inclusivity and Peer Perception in our institutions to see how each one of the segments performed which should be appraised from within to know the levels of improvement much before the next exercise of NIRF ranking fell due. That self appraisal could form the basis even for going in for taking corrective measures well in time. We also lack in the field of research as there are both lesser publications as also lesser quality publications to get a rank. One of the simple parameters among others to know about the levels of learning hence popularity of the top education institutions in Jammu and Kashmir, is by seeing how many students from other states and UTs preferred to get admission in our institutions as is wont of most of the states in he country. “Perform or perish ” is the broader message of methodology adopted to ranking institutions via the NIRF and in this era of fast competition at national as also at international levels which the New National Education Policy too aspires for , only the best could remain there and sustain as well.