OccupyUGC
OccupyUGC protest outside the UGC office in New Delhi against the scrapping of non-NET fellowships. File photo.Facebook/AISA

The new ranking system, National Institution Ranking Framework (NIRF), spanning all courses, universities and colleges, public and private, initiated by the University Grants Commission (UGC) is facing flak from regulatory authorities and institutions.

"The system of rating is already messed up, with institutions getting different ratings from different agencies, and the new system will create more confusion," said H Maheshappa, Vice-Chancellor (VC) of Visvesvaraya Technological University, Karnataka.

"Instead of having multiple regulatory bodies, the government should either have one of its own regulatory bodies or one private agency to rank institutions," he told the Times of India.

"If the NIRF considers this (lack of funds for research) and provides a poor ranking to such universities, it is not justifiable. It will demotivate universities. Poor ranking will lead to fewer funds for universities," said Meena Rajiv Chandawkar, VC of the Karnataka State Women's University (KSWU), Vijayapura.

"Before announcing the ranking, they have to collect all the data from each institution and should do the ranking properly. Evaluation of ranking should be done every year, but we don't know whether they have the capacity to do it," said GK Prabhu, Director of Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT), Karnataka.

"One of the mistakes in this country is some things are done in a half-hearted manner. One has to go slowly while ranking institutions. All these jobs take around 10 years to evolve, because there are chances of bad colleges ending up getting top rankings. Rank should not be a stamp for an institution; it has to be a magnet," S Sadagopan, Director of IIIT-Bengaluru, told TOI.

Regulatory authorities are also unwilling to accept the newly announced system, which will be judging universities on the basis of graduation outcome, perception about the institute, teaching and learning resources, and research activities, besides practice and collaborative performance.

State authorities find the new rating system, which is being seen as India's equivalent to QS World University rankings, redundant as regulatory bodies like AICTE (for engineering), MCI (medical) and NATA (architecture) already exist.

R Chandrashekara, secretary of the Forum of Former Vice-Chancellors of Karnataka State Universities, pointed out to TOI: "Does the NIRF have sufficient manpower to assess and rank all institutions in the country?" He also said the NIRF is redundant as the NAAC already rates universities.

UGC Chairman Ved Prakash, in November, had said parents and students seek information about institutions that the NIRF would be able to provide.

The UGC website, where universities can register themselves for the quantitative rating, had in late November gone live. The ratings are expected to be released in April 2016.