BHUBANESWAR: The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) of Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) has brought no cheer to the State as far as Government-run universities are concerned.
Although the Ministry had sought participation of all institutions accredited by University Grants Commission (UGC), none of the eight Government-run universities - Utkal, Sambalpur, Berhampur, Fakir Mohan, North Odisha, Ravenshaw besides Jagannath Sanskrit Mahavidyala and Utkal University of Culture - took part in the NIRF which aims at ranking higher education institutions across the country based on several parameters. While some Vice-Chancellors (VCs) claimed that they had little time to do so, a few others had no knowledge about it.
Utkal University VC Ashok Das said he received the UGC letter on NIRF just a week before the submission deadline. Even as the deadline was extended by 15 days, the time was too short because teachers were busy preparing for the degree examination, he said.
The UGC had sought information on faculty strength, campus placements, inclusiveness and research among other things.
Universities that participated in the study and have been ranked in NIRF are mostly unitary universities that do not have any affiliated colleges or deemed universities, said VC of Fakir Mohan University Siba Prasad Adhikar. “The time period given to us to upload the data was very less. Besides, collecting data within a short time from all 74 affiliated colleges under Fakir Mohan University was difficult. Although we had notified faculty members to upload data on the NIRF website, they were not able to do so in time,” he said.
VC of North Odisha University Prafulla Mishra and his counterpart from Jagannath Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya Gangadhar Pradhan said they received no intimation from the UGC in this regard.
However, academicians feel the State-run universities are still not ready to face all-India ranking assessments like NIRF. Compared to universities in other States including the neighbouring West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, those in Odisha lack heavily on faculty, NAAC grade, research and infrastructure, said Trilochan Pradhan who headed the ‘Task Force for Higher Education’ for State Government in 2010. He said without meeting the shortcomings, judging universities on an all-India level will not be fair.
Consider this: None of the Government universities except North Odisha has a valid NAAC grade yet. Utkal, Sambalpur, Berhampur and Fakir Mohan universities have submitted their self-assessment reports to the NAAC and are expecting peer team visits later this year for re-accreditation. This apart, even as the State Government had sanctioned faculty positions in all the universities four years back, the recruitment process has been moving at snail’s pace. Infrastructure wise, science laboratories in all the universities have not been refurbished.