Why Univ Rankings Are In Trouble From India To US

Source: This post is created based on the article “Why Univ Rankings Are in Trouble from India To US”, published in Times of India on 23rdMarch 2023.

Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 2 – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education

News: Many foreign universities recently rejected the US News & World Report annual rankings. Many top universities were included among them, for example the top ranked Harvard Medical School, law schools of UC Berkeley and Yale.

Their justification was that these rankings were harmful to attracting prospective students.

Similarly, in 1995, Reed College refused to participate in the US News & World Report annual survey. The reason was a WSJ report of1994 about institutions manipulating data to move up in the rankings in various popular college guides.

However, the executive chair of US News & World Report, said that the mentioned elite schools don’t want to be held accountable by an independent third party.

Recently India’s National Assessment and Accreditation Council’s processes have come in for a lot of criticism and several articles have red-flagged its credibility.

What are the issues with the measurement of performance of Universities?

There are issues with both qualitative and quantitative measurements of universities. A qualitative approach is time-consuming and cannot be verified. Moreover, it islabor-intensive, and not statistically representative. Whereas the qualitative measurement relies on numbers and can be manipulated by institutes.

Another issue is whether a university should be programme accredited or institution accredited. programme accreditation can be enormously time-consuming for our large education system, whereas university accreditation can hide the inconsistencies within departments.

How do the ranking agencies operate presently?

There are many ranking agencies operating presently, for example, THE World University Rankings (THE-WUR), QS Asian University Rankings, Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, etc.

THE-WUR measures the university performance based on 13 indicators, across teaching (30%), research (30%), research citation (30%) international outlook (7. 5%) and knowledge transfer/industry income (2. 5%).

QS measures based on academic reputation (40%), employer reputation (10%), faculty student ratio (20%), citation per faculty (20%) and international faculty and student ratio (5% each).

NAAC measure is based on 15% for curricular aspects, 20% for teaching learning and evaluation, 25% for research, innovation and extension and 10% each for 4 other aspects.

NIRF ranking is based on six parameters such as research and professional practice, graduation outcomes, outreach and inclusivity.

Why is there so much difference in methods of ranking universities?

Education is multi-faceted. There is a large diversity in the Indian education system.

Different type of institutions like pvt or public, tech or social science, language basedetc, operate under very different conditions. They cannot be grouped under the same parameters for a quality check.

Therefore, ranking and accreditation processes must be scraped and quality assurance must be adopted as the default. Individual Universities must be held accountable for the performance.

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