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IITs dominate HRD’s NIRF ranking again; here’s why they fail internationally

IITs blame the high weightage given to 'perspective' metrics, which they claim lack transparency. The HRD Minister also said that he does not agree with international rankings and will instead focus on making Indian ranking a dream for international institutes.

Written by Shyna Kalra | New Delhi | Updated: June 12, 2020 3:59:50 pm
iit madras, QS ranking, THE ranking, world university ranking, iit delhi, NIRF ranking, hrd minister ramesh pokhriyal nishank, education news IIT Madras topped NIRF ranking but was not featured in international rankings at all (Graphic: Gargi Singh)

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, which has been ranked as the best Indian institute for the second consecutive year in India’s National Institutes Ranking Framework (NIRF), was nowhere in the list of top 100 institutes released by the Times Higher Education (THE) Ranking and in top 250 of the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings released earlier this month.

Bhaskar Ramamurthy, director of IIT-Madras, speaking to indianexpress.com said the stark variation in assessment is because of the different matrix used by international and national rankings. “The international rankings do not depend upon the data provided by the institutes. They just ask us 2-3 basic parameters like faculty-student ratio, etc, which too is an important parameter. However, the international rankings overlook other key indices like research, industry collaboration, among others,” he commented.

“Most international institutes give as high as 50 per cent weightage to perception. There is no clarity on how they calculate this perception. It could be by asking a person to randomly name the top 10 institutes in the world they know,” he added. Ironically, in the NIRF ranking released today, IIT-Madras has got the highest score in perception with 96.16, followed by research with 90.67 score out of 100 this year. Overall, it has improved from 83.88 last year to 85.31 this year.

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“For international rankings, if we increase our faculty members in one year, it gives us more marks at one point but also ranks us low in citation done by faculty for many years as it takes time for new faculty to research and submit citations. NIRF, on the other hand, asks for data which takes months to compile and one cannot fake these data points,” he said.

However, the IIT director added that the institute is aware of its strong points and shortfalls and will build on it. He mentioned that IIT-Madras, like other IITs, can improve on its internationalisation and their first aim would be to solve the country’s problems.

Minister of HRD Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, too, had remarked that he does not agree with the international ranking. “International rankings give high weightage to ‘perspective’ matrix. I do not agree with these international rankings,” he said while announcing the NIRF ranking through his Twitter handle today. He noted that NIRF rankings are more subjective and consider perspective as a parameter but give it lesser weightage. He added, “We will make India’s NIRF ranking so renowned that international institutes would want to be ranked in the Indian ranking instead.”

Director of IIT-Delhi, V Ramgopal Rao, said in a tweet, “The character of our institutes is different. It is a marathon we are running not a 100 metre race.” He had earlier commented that the international rankings lack an Indian context. On this instance, too, he mentioned, “This is a very dicey and non-transparent matric. We are known in India but international reputation needs an altogether different strategy. We need to hire a brand-building agency and aggressively campaign our Study in India initiatives, highlighting the achievements of IITs and our top institutes. Also, perception-based scores by these agencies are open to a lot of fallacies and other considerations.”

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