CHENNAI: The NIRF ranking list released on Monday has revealed that state universities still have a lot of work to turn into quality institutes as rankings of most state universities have dropped this year. Experts pointed out that most state universities don’t have adequate funds to focus on research work, while factors like shortage of qualified faculty and pending pension arrears have resulted in slipping of ranks.
“There has been no recruitment of faculty in state universities for the past many years as there are vacancies which are being managed by guest faculties. Besides, UGC funding for developmental works and RUSA projects have also stopped. There is little funds available with state-run universities for infrastructure development and research,” said P Duraisamy, former vice-chancellor of Madras University.
Out of 22 universities from the state that featured in the top 100 of the NIRF list in the university category, nine are state universities. However, the rankings of six state universities have dropped this year. The University of Madras slipped 11 ranks, to 50 from 39 last year.
The ranking framework evaluates institutions on five broad parameters - teaching, learning and resources; research and professional practice, graduation outcome, outreach and inclusivity; and perception. The five parameters have further sub-divisions also.
University of Madras’s score in the perception category dropped from 36 to 10 out of 100. It has scored zero in sub-categories of research and professional practice (under Patents: Published and Granted; and Footprint of projects and professional practice) and outreach and inclusivity (Economically and Socially Challenged Students).
However, pointing out anomalies with the scores, University of Madras Vice-Chancellor S Gowri is planning to write to NIRF seeking clarifications. “Our score in the perception category may have gone down due to the recent protests on the campus and due to financial problems we have been facing in paying pensions and salaries. However, our university cannot score a zero in the category for Economically and Socially Challenged Students as we have special free admission schemes for poor students and our fees are nominal and affordable for such students,” said Gowri.
State universities like Bharathiar University, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Madurai Kamaraj University and Alagappa University scored poorly in research, perception and inclusivity categories. The universities have scored poorly even in teacher student ratio.
“Private universities are spending a lot on image building and improving their perception among the public in the academic arena. We cannot afford to do that,” said the vice-chancellor of a state university. Duraisamy added that Tamil Nadu State Council for Higher Education should look into the problem and do a proper evaluation of state universities’ performance and chalk out a detailed strategy to improve the ranks next year.