Herald: Centre assures new category of rankings for smaller universities

Centre assures new category of rankings for smaller universities

16 Dec 2018 06:50am IST
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16 Dec 2018 06:50am IST

Javdekar emphasises on outcome based learning; GU VC says university witnessing unprecedented growth

Team Herald

PANJIM: In a relief to Goa University (GU) that has faced criticism over a drop in ranking in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the Central government has assured to introduce a different category of ranking for smaller universities that would include GU. The grievance over outlay of funding under Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) was also addressed during the 31st convocation of Goa University on Saturday. 

“The NAAC accreditation of 3.25 and above for universities to be eligible for RUSA 2.0 funding was initiated to increase the quality of education. But this is for graded autonomy, it should not be for RUSA funding. I assure you all that NAAC accreditation of 3.0 and above will also be able to get the RUSA 2.0 funds,” Union Minister Prakash Javdekar told a gathering of GU’s faculty members and students during the convocation ceremony on Saturday. GU, being one of smaller universities, currently gets funds under RUSA 1.0.

The Union Minister also assured to introduce a separate category exclusively for smaller universities in the NIRF ranking. The two assurances came after Vice Chancellor Varun Sahni pointed out to issues GU was enduring despite being a small university. 

“GU has entered the phase of unprecedented growth and it is a popular university. As the only State university of the country’s smallest State, we face a fundamental structural impediment. We are a small university and continue to remain small in size unless a conscious decision is taken at the national level to scale us up by doubling our size over a period of 10 years. We are very good at what we do. We regard ourselves and increasingly get regarded by our assessors, rankers and competitors as the best small public university in India. By some objective indicators, GU is the sixth most scientifically productive higher education institution in the country,” Sahni said as he began his address by speaking about the university’s achievements. 

The V-C continued that GU emphasises in per capita terms but the rankers and rating agencies were focusing on absolute numbers rather than per capita indicators. “On behalf of GU, I have three pleas to make before the Union Minister one of which is that if NIRF considers not just absolute numbers but per capita data and it would be relatively easy to have a separate ranking for smaller universities of the country. We humbly request to make all universities with NAAC accreditation of 3.0 and above eligible for RUSA 2.0 funding and not restrict it to universities with 3.25 rank,” he said which was followed by the Union minister’s assurance. 

GU has invited NAAC next year to re-access and re-credit the university. Sahni said they are working to move up to 3.25 but it is in need of RUSA 2.0 funds now. “We have been utilising the RUSA 1.0 funds effectively. If we work to have RUSA 2.0 funds, we will make every paisa to enhance the value of the teaching-learning process,” he added. 

In the recent ranking, GU was ranked 68th in the 2018 NIRF, a drop by four positions since 2017 year. Last year too, the GU had slipped to 64 from an impressive ranking at 20th position in 2016. GU had thereafter written to the MHRD that NIRF system is skewed in favour of bigger universities and institutes. 

Javdekar, in his address emphasised on ‘outcome based learning,’ recently introduced by the Narendra Modi-led government. “Infrastructure, number of rooms, grounds, etc are important but not the only important factors. The most important (factor) is the outcome; what kind of product comes out of an educational institution: for which the students are the barometers,” he explained.

Javdekar insisted that Indian talent should not be satisfied with just being contributors to an innovation and instead be the owners of an innovation. “Research and innovation is very important. We lack in innovation; we have not creators of many innovations. Few things are made in India. We take pride in Indian scientists/talents are a part of every innovation like i-phone, WhatsApp, Twitter, etc. But we are contributors and not owners. How to be owners is our attempt and that’s why we are doing everything possible from the school level and one of such projects is Atal Thinkering Labs,” the minister added.

He also said that the National Education Policy is ready and will be unveiled soon.

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