Flaws in the NIRF’s Ranking

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August 10, 2022

What is the issue?

The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)’s ranking of higher education institutions (HEIs) has received considerable criticism.

What is NIRF ranking?

  • The NIRF was approved by the MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development) and launched in 2015.
  • The framework outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country.
  • The ranking framework evaluates institutions on five parameters:
  1. Teaching, Learning & Resources
  2. Research & Professional Practice (RP)
  3. Graduation Outcomes
  4. Outreach & Inclusivity (OI)
  5. Perception (PR)
  • 2022 Ranking
    • IIT-Madras topped the overall category for the fourth consecutive year, and in engineering for the seventh straight year.
    • The top-ranked private institutions are Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (16), Manipal Academy of Higher Education (17), Vellore Institute of Technology (18).
    • The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) stood first in the research institutions category.
    • AIIMs occupied the top slot in the medical education category for the fifth straight year.
    • IIM-Ahmedabad remained the best institute in the management segment.
    • The National Law School of India University, Bengaluru, retained the first position in law.

What were the criticisms against the ranking?

  • Data fudging- The NIRF ranking shows that a private law university scored 100% in perception.
  • But the Common Law Admission Test admission choice shows that this institution figures below 10 NLUs as a preferred place to study.
  • Lack of rigorous verification- There seems to be a lack of a rigorous system of verification by the NIRF of the data submitted by HEIs.
  • Regarding the faculty-student ratio (FSR), some private multi-discipline universities have claimed the same faculty in more than one discipline.
  • Funds- Enormous funds have been claimed as expenditure on equipment for laboratories by some private multi-discipline institutions which offer law as a subject.
  • But labs are not required for law.
  • No transparency- The NIRF requires the data submitted to it be published by all the participating HEIs on their website so that such data can be scrutinised.
  • Some private multi-discipline universities have not granted free access to such data on their website.
  • There is also discrepancy in the data submitted to the NIRF and the data on the websites of these institutions.
  • Methodology- The NIRF applies almost the same parameters to all the institutions across varied disciplines in research and professional practice.
  • There is a gap between the methodology employed for accreditation purposes and for ranking purposes.
  • While the National Assessment and Accreditation Council gives due weightage to publications in UGC-Care listed journals, the NIRF uses publication data only from Scopus and Web of Science.



  1. https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/rankings-that-make-no-sense/article65752557.ece
  2. https://indianexpress.com/article/education/nirf-iits-sweep-rankings-iisc-tops-universities-delhi-colleges-shine-8032259/
  3. https://www.nirfindia.org/About


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