What do Rankings and Accreditations even mean?
Best Ranked College… Highest Ranking in Engineering by XYZ Survey… Best ranked university in terms of placements…
Best Ranked College… Highest Ranking in Engineering by XYZ Survey… Best ranked university in terms of placements… These have become common terminologies often boggling one’s mind- unfathomable parameters making the difficult choice of choosing ones University/ Institute for Higher Education an even more difficult choice. So, let us take a step back… let us take a deep breath and let us first understand what do Rankings and Accreditations mean and what are the implications of the same for a prospective graduate or post graduate student.
Let me take a moment of you, the reader’s, time to first explain why I got down to writing this article about the implications of rankings and accreditations in the choice of a University or Institute. I am currently employed as a Lecturer in Graphic Era University, located in Dehradun, Uttarakhand thanks to my education from a well- established University having a history of 25 years of excellence. First about my current place of employment- Graphic Era University is the ONLY University of the state to have been awarded the NAAC Grade A with the highest grade score of 3.23 and to be placed in the Top 150 Rank Bands of the NIRF. Graphic Era University was also recently awarded the Leading Private University Award by the BERG, Belgium.I was during my brief foray into the Corporate that I witnessed my hardworking colleagues often missing out on opportunities that presented themselves- such as going overseas on a Project or being selected to manage a Project, merely because of the Name of the University/ Institute that appeared on their Degree. It was this very reason that prompted me to write this article.
Why have Indian Universities consistently performed poorly in Global Rankings?
Indian Universities have consistently ranked poorly in International Rankings conducted by International Ranking Bodies such as Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) and Times Higher Education (THE)- the reason for the same may be directly attributed to the parameters used by these Ranking Agencies which are insensitive to different aspects of the Higher Education Scenario in developing nations such as India. In particular, world university rankings by QS and others give far too much emphasis on the number of International Students and reputation,which favor older, established Western institutions, areas in which India’s universities are weak, ignoring parameters such as social inclusion, about which we have been more attentive given the context of our history, level of development, ethnic diversity and social make up.
To effectively showcase the various aspects of its education, India had planned to develop an India-specific university ranking system – this would likely not have gone ahead without MsSmritiIrani, former Minister of Human Resource Development, who was receptive to the view that the fault lay with the methodologies employed by ranking organisations and less with us. After taking charge of MHRD, she quickly appointed a committee to devise India-specific rankings. At that time, many observers expressed reservations about the plan. and said it was far more important to pay attention to improving the overall quality of education- thus the inception of the NIRF (The National Institutional Ranking Framework)
Accreditation, on the other hand, is a voluntary activity initiated by the institution that requires a rigorous self-evaluation and an independent, objective appraisal of the overall educational quality by peers. Accreditation emphasizes quality assurance and a commitment to continuous quality enhancement. The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) is an autonomous body established by the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India to assess and accredit institutions of higher education in the country.
Thus, a student joining a NAAC Accredited as well as an NIRF Ranked Institution/ University such as Graphic Era University located in Dehradun, the capital of the lush Himalayan State of Uttarakhand, can be assured that he/ she shall receive a well-balanced education encompassing a perfect blend of high academic quality and professional relevance to map the requirements of the Corporate World as curriculum integrated activities, programmes and processes.For a parent, putting a student in a NAAC Accredited Grade A University such as Graphic Era University, which has also been awarded the highest grade score of 3.23 on a scale of 4 among the 38 Private Deemed Universities assessed, signifies that their ward goes through a quality teaching and learning environ.
The choice of a University, especially a good University, therefore has huge implications not only for a student and his/ her parent but also any alma mater- to be associated with a University which is recognized not only nationally but also globally.
The next time you choose a University… make an informed decision.
-ShreejataDey is a Pro Term Lecturer at the Department of Placement Assistance at Graphic Era University.
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