In a concerning note, the ranking of Nagaland University (NU), the sole central university in the state, has dropped even further in the latest release of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) by the Union Ministry of Education on June 5.
As mentioned previously in this column, NU’s ranking has been slipping since its best performance in 2018 when it reached the top 100 at 95. Since then, it slipped to the 101-150 band in 2019, a position it retained in 2020. However, it further declined to the 151-200 band in 2021 and 2022.
Unfortunately, the 2023 result was no better, as NU dropped out of the 151-200 rank band it managed to hold on to in the previous two occasions. This decline in ranking raises concerns about the university's performance and overall academic standards.
Meanwhile, the performance of the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Nagaland, the state's lone 'Institute of National Importance,' also seems to be floundering after its best performance in 2017 when it was placed in the 151-200 band. It is important to note that most other NITs, particularly in the North-East region, have made it to the top 200 list in the engineering category.
The overall ranking is determined using five broad parameters: Teaching, Learning & Resources (TLR); Research and Professional Practice (RP); Graduation Outcomes (GA); Outreach and Inclusivity (OI); and Perception (P). It remains to be seen if NU has undertaken any improvements in 2023, as reports submitted to NIRF earlier indicated that the strength of students and faculty is comparable to other institutions, while it seemed to have scored well in TLR before.
However, the university's ranking was adversely affected by RP, which includes sub-parameters like the combined metric for publications, quality of publications, intellectual property rights (IPR) and patents, footprint of projects, and professional practice. Another issue might be the lack of re-accreditation. A thorough examination of NU's results will provide a clear picture of the situation.
On the other hand, there was a glimmer of hope as Patkai Christian College (Autonomous) achieved a milestone by becoming the first college in the state to be listed among the top 200 in India in the College category. With 2,746 participating colleges nationwide in NIRF 2023, this accomplishment brightened an otherwise lacklustre performance for educational institutions from Nagaland in the rankings.
Apart from NU, NIT, and PCC, other institutes from Nagaland participating in NIRF 2023 were St Joseph University, SD Jain Girls College, St Xavier's College, and Tetso College, as per the ranking portal. This indicates the potential for improved performance in the future.
Regardless of good or poor performance, it is high time that those in leadership positions at Nagaland's lone central university redesign their strategies to improve the institution's ranking. Similarly, institutions making history should not rest on their laurels but strive to enhance their modest rankings even further, while those aspiring take lessons for the top performers across India. The NIRF results summary, especially for the top 100 institutes in each category, provides a valuable starting point for this endeavour.
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