Reflection on NITR Rankings, NIRF 2018
Sayed Munib Ahamad | Jun 25, 2018
In today’s world, where institutes of higher education have multiplied manifold, there seems to be no end to the dilemmas of a student in choosing their dream college in India. Apart from the public impression that makes the highest contribution to an institution’s reputation, there are several Survey and accreditations carried out by various organizations which publish comparative reports on an institute’s performance. Since educational surveys abound in plenty and employ means of testing that vary widely, there have been several questions and debates over the nitty-gritty of these surveys. In this article, we seek to answer many of those questions, as well as analyze how NITR have been faring in this year’s rankings, prominently the prestigious NIRF that was published on the 3rd of April this year.
The National Institutional Rankings Framework (NIRF) is one of the most highly-esteemed and universally acknowledged surveys conducted and approved by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD). NITR has been participating and consistently competing for a ‘top-10’ position in this survey since it was launched in 2016.
Surveys and accreditations are done on the basis of various parameters that assess an institute’s performance in that field over a period. These include markers like research, infrastructure, faculty strength, placements, connectivity and more. Most surveys are conducted on an annual basis and institutes are numerically marked on the above points, following which a rank is given. Apart from MHRD, other organizations like Times Higher Education and QS University rankings also conduct these surveys.
There are many ways to assess and rank an institute. While surveying, institutes may be categorized into Technical, Medical or Law, Management, or Architectural education institutes, as well as on a hierarchical basis like Govt. sponsored or autonomous, university or college or an IIT/NIT. For evaluating, some survey officials may visit the campus in person, or solicit postal or online submission of data, or even conduct polls/surveys among the students and teachers. With a significant amount of raw data assessed, and parameters varying from one survey to another, the rankings of institutes may largely differ too and have been a subject of extensive debates for some time. Nevertheless, specific surveys are well accepted by a large fraction of the scholarly community and referred by several recruiters and patrons while approaching an institute. The NIRF (https://www.nirfindia.org/About) is one such significant framework of institutional surveys.
NITR’S PERFORMANCE CURVE
NIRF also enlists the parameters that the Institutes are judged upon. Quoting the website of NIRF, the following are the parameters along with their descriptions:
Teaching, Learning & Resources
The factors taken into consideration to decide the scores of the parameter 'Teaching, Learning and Resources' are student strength including the Doctoral Students, the Faculty-student ratio ( with emphasis on permanent faculty), the experience and qualification of the faculty of the Institute and the total budget and its utilisation.
The primary source of data for all the above is the information provided by the Institute to NIRF in a prescribed format.
The faculty-student ratio at NITR varies widely across the departments. The ideal Faculty Student Ratio should be 1:12, while the overall faculty-student ratio of NITR stands at 1:16. This, however, paints a slightly flawed picture considering the disparity across departments. For example, the Faculty Student Ratio of the Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering stands at 1:30 while that in the Department of Chemistry stands at 1:5.
The number of PhD students in NITR is approximately 850 among the 6000+ students studying.
Research and Professional Practice
The factors taken into account for the scores in the parameter ‘Research and Professional Practice are as follows:
- The number and quality of publications from the Institute each year, the details of which are obtained by the NIRF through third-party sources like Scopus, Web of Science, PUBMED, FT 45 etc. NITR keeps track of the number of publications through databases like Scopus wherein a search by the tag ‘NIT Rourkela’ yields results showing the publications of the Institute. Application of further filters yields results according to the year of publication. NITR also keeps a record of publications through the information provided by the faculties and the validity is crosschecked through these online platforms. Thus, the submissions from the faculty and the collection from online database together serve as sources of information in the NIRF Rankings.
- The number of Patents Filed, Published, Granted and Licensed: The primary source of data for this includes both the information provided by the Institute in a prescribed format and information from third-party sources.
- ·The Footprint of Projects and Professional Practice And Executive Development Programs (FPPP): This takes into account the average annual research funding earnings (amount actually received in rupees) at institute level for the previous 3 years, average annual consultancy amount (amount actually received in rupees) at institute level, for the previous 3 years and Average annual earnings from Full Time Executive Development Programs of a Minimum duration of one year over previous 3 years. The primary source of data for this information remains the information provided by the Institute in the prescribed format. NITR currently has 250 Sponsored projects with sponsorships from DRDO, SERB, DST, Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Ministry of Social Justice and Welfare and BRNS, to name a few.
The deciding factors for scores in this parameter are the combined percentage of Placement, Higher Studies and Entrepreneurship, the number of students passing the semester examinations each year, the median salary of graduates, the number of PhDs awarded and the number of graduates admitted to top Institutions worldwide.
The primary source of data remains the information provided by the Institutes.
While NITR does have a database of students placed through on-campus placements or having start-ups incubated in NITR, it lacks a specific database keeping track of graduates who take admissions in reputed Institutes worldwide. The information is mainly obtained through hearsay as most of the faculties of the department remain aware of the number of such students. NITR also does not have a specific database of companies graduates have opened after graduation and the Alumni databases come to use in this situation.
Outreach and Inclusivity
The deciding factors for this parameter include the number of students from other states/countries (Regional Diversity), the number of Women in the institute ( as staff or students or in senior administrative positions), the number of economically and socially challenged students and the facilities for physically challenged students.
The sex ratio of NITR for students pursuing their Bachelor’s degree is 229:1000 (229 female students for every 1000 male students). The regional diversity has always been rich in NITR and the number of economically and socially challenged is in accordance with the government norms. NITR had long lacked facilities for physically challenged students but initiatives have begun to be taken in the recent past. The entrance to the library and the buildings under construction have been enabled with ramps and other facilities for the physically challenged.
The factors taken into consideration to decide the scores in the parameter are as follows.
Peer Perception: Employers and Research Investors (PREMP)
The perception of the industries and sponsors are adjudged through an online survey.
Peer Perception: Academics (PRACD)
The preferences of the fellow institutions and faculty, academia etc is ascertained through online surveys to decide the scores.
Public Perception (PRPUB)
The data is collected online from the general public, in response to advertisements and helps ascertain preference of general public for choosing institutions for their wards and friends.
Primary Data: List of such students along with details of their institutions and year of graduation to be provided.
Over the last two years, NIT-R has ranked low on the perception scale, the perception rating seeing a steep decline after 2016. The institute though maintains that steps are being taken to change that. Quoting the director of the institute, Prof. Animesh Biswas,
Overall we are pleased with the NIRF rankings but there is scope for improvement. This year we lost out on ‘perception’ points but we are keen to improve that next year. Steps are being taken to improve on Student Activities, design programs that suit the industry, try to encourage start-ups, improve Research facilities and finally better the teaching-learning process. All of these would, in turn, improve perception because people would come to realise that some serious work is going on in this institute
Team MM wishes this analysis would help provide insights into our national performance index in a new way and encourages all stakeholders of our Institute to constantly strive for helping NIT-R grow to new heights of excellence. For more details visit this link