NIRF stands for National Institutional Ranking Framework, which was created by a Core group of Academic Experts setup by Ministry of Human Resources Department (MHRD) in the year 2015. This Core Committee identified the broad parameters to be used for evaluating and Ranking the Higher Educational Institutions (HEI’s).
The idea behind this is to give the student aspirants & parents an easy-to-understandable metric like RANK to identify the best institutions in each category (University, Engineering, Architecture, Medical, Management, Law, Pharmacy, Colleges, etc.,).
The first set of Ranks were released in 2016 and then on, it is now an Annual List that is released in the month of April of every year, just before the Admission season kick-starts. The Ranks have now been published for three years (2016, 2017 & 2018).
Every year, the Institutions register for participating in NIRF Rankings and submit their Data in the prescribed format in the Data Capturing System (DCS) on the NIRF Website. This is typically done during the November-December period. Post submission, the data is then analysed and the Ranks are published in April.
Though participating in NIRF isn’t mandatory yet for Institutions, the popularity of NIRF is growing slowly and steadily over years. The Government also has started referring to the Rank of the Institution (Apart from NAAC Scores), while deciding on the Level of Autonomy to be extended to the Institution and/or for providing Research Grants, etc., This has ensured that more and more Institutions wanting to participate in NIRF Rankings, year-after-year.
I see, NIRF Rankings as akin to Annual Health Checkup. Though Annual Health Checkup is not mandatory, it is a good practice to keep a tab on how we as an Individual are performing on various vital statistics related to our Health and take corrective actions where necessary. Similarly, NIRF provides an deep insight to the Institution on how they are performing on the various key metrics, in comparison to their peers through which they can identify “Areas of Improvement” and work on them.
NIRF evaluates the HEI’s on 5 broad parameters as follows:
- Teaching, Learning & Resources (TLR)
- Research & Professional Practices (RPC)
- Graduation Outcomes (GO)
- Outreach & Inclusivity (OI)
- Perception (PR)
TLR – This is related to core activities of any place of learning like Student Strength, Faculty-to-Student Ratio, Faculty Quality & Experience & Utilisation of Financial Resources. The above sub-parameters evaluates how the resources of the Institution are efficiently utilised and also evaluates the Institutional Quality, from the perspective of Faculty’s Educational Background (PhD or not) and their overall experience.
RPC – This parameter evaluates how the knowledge bank of the Institution is converted to Intellectual Assets like Research papers, Patents and Revenue (Earned through Research Grants, Consultancy & Executive Development Programs).
GO – This parameter forms the ultimate test of effectiveness of the core teaching / learning aspect of the Institution. This is evaluated by looking at the % of students passing the University Examinations in the stipulated time, No. of Research Scholars (PhD Students) graduating, No of students placed in Jobs and No. of students who go on to pursue Higher Studies and the Median Salary of Placed students.
OI – This parameter lays emphasis on metrics like Regional & Women Diversity, Economically & Socially Challenged Students and Facilities available for Physically Challenged Students, in the Institution.
PR – This parameter evaluates the perception of the Institutions amongst various stake-holders. Though the first 2 years included Perception from the Academic Peers & Public, these have been excluded in the NIRF 2018 Rankings, as these are not easy to track for its accuracy. The only perception metric being tracked now are those from the Research Investors & Employers.
Though each of these broad parameters are on a 100-mark scale, the weightage applied to them to arrive at the final score varies by Category of the Institution. Also, the sub-parameters utilised for evaluation under each broad parameter varies by Category of the Institution. The below pictures will give you a understanding of the same.