NIRF Rankings depict the inequalities in Indian Education Sphere

The second edition of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) was released by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development on April 03, 2017. This comes as the second official ranking as given by the Central Government of India’s vast higher education system. However, the recently released national rankings underscore two big issues about India’s education system: firstly, how the ranking exercise could not garner enough support and secondly, it amplifies inequalities in India’s education system.

In the 2017 rankings, out of the 39,000 colleges, 11,000 stand-alone institutions, and over 760 universities – cumulatively around 51,000-strong higher educational institutions, just about 6% of the overall pool (say around 2,995 institutions) have participated, means less than 3000 institutions participated.

Be it lack of awareness, non-eligibility for not completing a specified number of years, lack of documentation or simply the fear of falling behind, the overall scenario shows that higher education needs a huge leg-up – both from the government and individual private promoters.


In the overall rankings, amongst the top 100 institutions, 67 are just from eight states, including Delhi which clearly depicts the regional imbalance in terms of presence of top institutions in the country. Of the remaining, Tamil Nadu has 20 institutions, followed by Maharashtra with nine. This shows that the remaining 23 states and six Union territories do not have quality institutions.

The inequality can also be witnessed in terms of classification among the institutions. The unequal distribution of quality institutions does contribute (to some extent) to inward migration to these states in general and cut-off marks for selection in these institutions touching 100% or near the perfect score, especially in particular subjects. For example, among best 100 universities, 40 are in three states and 60 are in six states. Like overall rankings, here too, the names of the states are familiar – with Tamil Nadu having 24 of the best 100 universities in the country, and Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Delhi filling in for the rest.

Talking about the institutions located in so and so states and classification, the thing is – ask a student “Would you like to go and study in Surat?” He/she will definitely make a face or give weird expressions. The institutions are opened in the region where there is a scope that the students will take admission and the institution will prosper in the long run. Lastly, the luck also plays the vital role. But in last when it comes to students, no matter what if they get admission even to the far off distant place in their dream career they leave their houses to study and their parents do every bit to fulfill their child’s dream.

Talking about the universities, let’s take the example f the most sought-after university of the nation – the Delhi University. In the year 2015, when College of Vocational Studies and Indraprastha College for Women had 100% cut-off marks for their computer science program for general category students, Delhi University became the talk of the nation. Similarly, likewise every year, in the year 2015 too, Shri Ram College of Commerce, one of the best in India, announced its cut-off at 98.25% for Economics (Honours) and 97.37% for B.Com (Honours). Come June this year, the situation most probably will be similar too. And the seats will again get filled, again so many new faces will get enrolled.

When the cut-offs are soaring high with each passing year, the students too are leaving no stone unturned to burn the midnight oil so as to come out with flying colors in their Board exams and seek admission in their dream colleges.

It solely depends on how we see things. Always remember there are two sides of the same coin. Accepted colleges and institutions charge a lot of fees. But the university or college is because of its students only. What matters is what students make of themselves when they leave the institution after completing their studies.


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