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100 Expected Questions

Prelims Capsule

Human Development

NIRF India Rankings 2019 declared

NIRF India Rankings 2019 declared


  • GS 2 || Governance & Social Justice || Human Development || Education

Why in news?

  • The NIRF 2019, the annual ranking of higher educational institutions using the National Institutional Ranking Framework of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), was released recently.


  • 3,127 participated: While India has about 900 universities and 40,000 colleges, the number of participating institutions stood at just 3,127, and hardly any of them are of global standards.
  • In fact, there are no Indian universities in the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings 2019.


  • Demographic dividend: While the window of demographic dividend remains open for India, education remains a major bottleneck. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for nations.
  • Human capital: How much we will benefit will depend on the quality of human capital.
    • But India ranks 130th out of 189 countries in the 2018 Human Development Index.

Human Capital Index

  • India was ranked 115th out of 157 countries in the first ever Human Capital Index released by the World Bank in April 2018.
    • This index measures the human capital level and predicts the potential productivity of children.
  • India had a score of 0.44, meaning that a child born today can expect to be only 44% productive compared to her potential with complete health and education. Subsequently, the government rejected the report!
  • Gross enrolment ratio (GER) for higher education in India is 26. It is 22 and 16, respectively, for scheduled castes (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST). This compares poorly with 51 of Brazil, 48 of China and 81 of Russia.
  • While the quality of education remains poor and access highly inequitable, what we are witnessing in the background is a retreat of the state from the sector, especially higher education.
  • Public expenditure on education was around 3.1% of GDP in 2012-13. It declined to 2.4% by 2015-16. And public expenditure on higher education has been around 1%. This is against the long-standing demand of 6% by the sector.

New Public Management Approach

  • An urgency to reduce budgetary support and increase efficiency, reflected in the philosophy behind the New Public Management, prompted governments across the world to move towards a result-oriented approach, from the 1980s onwards.
  • The disenchantment with the public sector led to the separation of the roles of service provider and regulator/policymaking of governments.
  • Competition between units operating in quasi market environments was expected to improve the outcomes leading to the achievement of policy goals. India is treading this path in education.
    • The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), an autonomous body under the University Grants Commission (UGC), evaluates, assesses and accredits institutions of higher education for a period of five years.
    • The NIRF ranking is a yearly affair, basically an annual progress card. While it is important to evaluate performance, we should be aware of the unintended consequences of this approach.

Way ahead

  • A holistic approach to education is the need of the hour. Education needs streamlining at all levels. We cannot build the superstructure of higher education on a weak schooling system.
  • Higher education institutions that rank high are there only because of liberal funding, better infrastructure and a dynamic leadership that attracted the best faculty and students.
  • If we have to create more such institutions, we will have to invest much more in education, especially in teacher training, recognising the paramount role of teachers in education.
  • And their energies should be channelised into the right activities, undistorted by the spectre of indicators. Otherwise we will miss the bus.

Additional info

National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)

  • The NIRF is a methodology adopted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), 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.
  • There are separate rankings for different types of institutions depending on their areas of operation like universities and colleges, engineering institutions, management institutions, pharmacy institutions and architecture institutions.
  • 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.

Mains question

  • If we have to create better institutions, we must invest more in education, especially in teacher training. And their energies should be channelised into the right activities, undistorted by the spectre of indicators. Discuss.