Fund and Faculty count in higher education rankings

Synopsis: The new edition of the National Institutional Ranking Framework highlights the huge gap between the best and the rest.


National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)  has recently released its sixth edition of ranking for Higher Education.

Read more: Union Education Minister releases India Rankings 2021
What are the advantages of the ranking?

Choice of Institution: It helps students to choose institutions for admission. It helps colleges to secure research funding. It enables teachers to choose the right colleges and employers to target campuses for hirings.

Competition: It identifies areas of improvement and also the measures to overcome those deficiencies. It promotes competition, which further promotes the quality of the institution.

Privileges: Good ranking opens the gate of other privileges to institutions like more autonomy, power to offer open and distance mode programmes, and permission to enter into collaboration with foreign universities etc.

How Universities are ranked?

Universities are ranked on various parameters like research, publications, innovations, patents etc. Different standards are adopted by various organizations to rank the universities. For instance,

Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU): It ranks universities solely on the basis of their research performance.

Times Higher Education (THE): It gives 60% weightage to research.

Quacquarelli Symonds (QS): It gives only 20% weightage to research.

NIRF: It accords 30% weightage to Research Performance and Professional Practices (RPP).

What did NIRF data reveal?

Research Performance: NIRF reveals that the best university scored 92.6% in the research category. This score declined to 60.52% for university that got the 10th spot. This number further declined to 50.32%, 28.69% for 20th and 50th best universities respectively. For the 100th university, the score is only 4.35%.

Research scholars: Data reveals that the larger the number of research scholars, the higher the ranks of the universities in terms of RPP. Data shows top 10 universities in NIRF had an average of 2,627 research scholars, whereas universities ranked in the bottom 10 had no more than 165 research scholars.

Salaries: The data revealed another interesting fact, the higher the institution spends on salaries of the staff, the higher is the ranking of the university. For example, the average annual expenditure on salaries for the top 10 universities is ₹391.72 crores.  While the universities, ranked between 91-100, spent only ₹79.26 crores.

Thus, one can conclude that the funds and faculty are the two most important factors that improve the performance of any educational institution.

Source: This post is based on “Fund and Faculty count in higher education rankings” published in The Hindu on 21st August 2021.

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