Essays in Education


Indian higher educational institutions (HEIs) are not making it to the top of the global ranking tables, except for a few. The Indian government has taken cognizance of this failure and launched a domestic ranking framework to foster competition and consequently improve quality of education. Interestingly, the framework is riddled with issues of misdirected metric selection. Given the complexity and vastness of the Indian higher education ecosystem this one-size-fits-all framework is not appropriate.

Public universities are predominantly policy driven and have a charter that is not in line with the mandate of the private and deemed universities. Likewise, institutions of national importance (INIs) receive priority funding and therefore pursue research agenda whereas public and private universities are always strapped for funding and have no real incentive to improve on signaling metrics.

The national ranking framework puts all the different types of HEIs with different mandates and different abilities under the same bucket to rank them uniformly. If the idea of ranking is to signal to the students the attractiveness of HEIs, then India’s ranking framework is an anomaly as public universities do not need the support of ranking signals to fill their seats. Demand for seats in public universities trumps supply for various reasons, quality of education being just one among them.

This paper exposes the inability of the government to identify the right metrics to evaluate HEIs. The paper deconstructs the framework via a commentary on the irrelevance of the metrics chosen, to situate how ill-designed it is.



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