The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) is a methodology adopted by the Ministry of Education, Government of India, to rank institutions of higher education in India. The Framework was approved by the MHRD and launched by Minister of Human Resource Development on 29 September 2015. Depending on their areas of operation, institutions have been ranked under 11 different categories – overall, university, colleges, engineering, management, pharmacy, law, medical, architecture, dental and research. The Framework uses several parameters for ranking purposes like resources, research, and stakeholder perception. These parameters have been grouped into five clusters and these clusters were assigned certain weightages. The weightages depend on the type of institution. About 3500 institutions voluntarily participated in the first round of rankings.
|Publisher||Ministry of Education|
NIRF was allotted a budget of ₹3 crore (US$380,000) for 2021–22.
The 2017 ranked lists were released by MHRD on 3 April 2017. While in its first rankings released in 2016, NIRF had four categories (Universities, Engineering, Management and Pharmacy), in 2017, two more categories namely, Overall and College, were added. Around 3,000 institutions participated in the rankings.
On April 3, 2018, the 2018 NIRF rankings were released which witnessed an increase in the number of participating institutions.
The NIRF ranking for 2019 was released on April 8, 2019 in 9 categories which included Overall, Universities, Engineering, Colleges, Management, Pharmacy, Medical, Architecture, and Law.
For the 2020 rankings, around 3,800 institutions participated in the process, which was 20 percent more than that in 2019. The 2020 ranked lists were released by MHRD on June 11, 2020. For the first time, the Dental institutes were placed under a different ranking list.
MHRD organized a one-day workshop on 21 August 2014 on evolving methodologies for the ranking of institutions of higher education in India. The meeting resolved to constitute a Committee for evolving a National Ranking Framework. Later it was also decided to co-opt representatives of central universities and IIMs also into the proposed committee. Based on these decisions, a core committee consisting of 16 members was constituted on 29 October 2014 with secretary (HE, MHRD, as chairperson and additional secretary (TE), MHRD, as member-secretary. The other members were the vice-chancellors of Delhi University, EFL University, Central University of Gujarat and JNU, the directors of the IIT Kharagpur, IIT Madras, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, NIT Tiruchirappalli, NIT Warangal, IIIT&M Gwalior, IISER Bhopal, SPA Delhi, NAAC, and chairperson of NBA.
The terms of reference of the committee were:
The core committee identified a set of measurable parameters to be used as metrics for ranking the institutions. These parameters were grouped into five major headings. The committee suggested the weightages to be assigned to various groups of parameters in the case of institutions of engineering education and left the task of carrying out similar exercises for institutions of other disciplines to other competent agencies. The initial draft of the report was prepared by Surendra Prasad, chairman, National Board of Accreditation and Member of the core committee.
The University Grants Commission constituted an expert committee on 9 October 2015 to develop a framework for the ranking of universities and colleges in India and the framework developed by this expert committee has been incorporated into NIRF. The core committee also suggested a framework for ranking institutions offering management education also. The All India Council for Technical Education developed parameters and metrics for ranking institutions offering pharmacy education and also architecture education.
The following are some of the recommendations of the core committee:
The approved set of parameter groups and the weightages assigned to them in respect of institutions offering programmes in engineering, management, pharmacy and architecture are given in the following table.
|Category B |
|Teaching, learning and resources (TLR)||0.30||0.30|
|Research, professional practice and collaborative performance (RPC)||0.30||0.20|
|Graduation outcome (GO)||0.15||0.25|
|Outreach and inclusivity (OI)||0.15||0.15|
The approved set of parameter groups and the weightages assigned to them in respect of overall rating and for colleges are given in the following table, for 2018.
|Teaching, learning and resources (TLR)||0.30||0.40|
|Research, productivity, impact and IPR (RPII)||0.30||0.15|
|Graduation outcome (GO)||0.20||0.25|
|Outreach and inclusivity (OI)||0.10||0.10|
The list was criticised for being incomplete, incoherent and bordering on the random in 2017. Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) Varanasi raised objection on 2017 NIRF ranking, accusing it of being based on incomplete data.
In 2021, Professor Anil Kumar Tripathi, director of the Institute of Science, Banaras Hindu University criticised the NIRF University rankings, accusing it to compare institutions with same budget but varying number of students. He said that "IISc no doubt, is the top institution in the country. Banaras Hindu University (BHU), however, is a different kind of educational institution. Both institutions have almost the same budget but the same amount of money caters to a large number of students, teachers and infrastructure at BHU. In comparison to IISc the money available is about five to ten times lesser in our university because of the sheer size".