NIRF Rankings Do Not Determine Funding Of Universities: UGC Chairman
The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) is commonly used to evaluate the performance of educational institutions. However, according to Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar, Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC), these rankings alone do not determine funding or regulatory aspects of a university. While the UGC has established NIRF rankings as an eligibility criterion for several schemes, it is important to note that it is not the sole pathway for eligibility. Professor Kumar emphasized this point in a conversation with IANS, stating, "It is one of the many criteria for eligibility for various schemes of the UGC, including the recently launched Regulations on Deemed to be University."
Since its inception in 2016, the NIRF indicators have been employed by students, parents, and staff to assess the overall performance of universities and colleges. Professor Kumar clarified that while rankings are an aspect of evaluating institutional quality and performance, they do not dictate funding or other regulatory aspects. Notably, some universities and colleges have consistently obtained poor rankings in NIRF over the past few years. When asked if the UGC plans to issue special advisories to these institutions, Professor Kumar explained that the NIRF ranking itself serves as an incentive and advisory for all institutions. It provides a valuable platform for measuring various aspects of institutional quality and allows for performance comparison with peer institutions in different categories. The rankings serve as a catalyst for improving quality, fostering healthy competition, and advancing overall institutional development. Therefore, the benefits of NIRF rankings can be seen as an advisory for all institutions.
The most recent data from the Education Ministry on NIRF rankings revealed that a few institutions experienced a decline in their rankings within just one year. Professor Kumar commented on this, stating that rankings should not be viewed as an ultimate destination but rather as important markers in an institution's journey. He expressed confidence that institutions would conduct internal analyses to identify areas for improvement and develop action plans for the following year. Since the NIRF ranking is an annual exercise, it provides institutions with an opportunity to address weaknesses and enhance their achievements. Professor Kumar emphasized that it requires sustained effort and is not a one-time endeavor.
While the NIRF participation has increased over the years since its launch in 2016, it is worth noting that only a small number of colleges out of the more than 40,000 colleges in India currently take part in the NIRF process. Professor Jagadesh Kumar acknowledged this and highlighted that the NIRF rankings serve as a valuable platform for assessing various aspects of institutional quality. Consequently, the UGC encourages and recognizes greater participation from colleges and universities nationwide. Professor Kumar appreciated the efforts of every institution that participated in the NIRF ranking.