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Indian varsities will be ranked

Kalpana Pathak & Vinay Umarji  |  Mumbai/Ahmedabad 

NAAC is studying university ranking systems worldwide to identify parameters.

The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), an autonomous body established by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to assess and accredit institutions of higher education in the country, is planning to introduce a global level ranking for Indian universities.

The council has formed an executive committee to devise a framework and is also studying various university ranking models from China’s Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s (SJTU) Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), the UK and Australia in order to develop its own grading scales.

HA Ranganath, director, NAAC, said: “We have set up a committee whose members are visiting and studying various colleges and universities. We intend to introduce our own rankings, based on world class indicators, something on the lines of Shanghai’s ARWU. Such an Indian ranking formed by NAAC should be respected by institutions across the world.”

In its rankings, for instance, SJTU uses indicators like number of alumni who have earned a Nobel Prize or Fields Medal since 1901, number of researchers who earned a Noble Prize in physics, chemistry, medicine or economics and/or the Fields Medal in mathematics since 1911, number of highly-cited researchers in the fields of life science, medicine, physics, engineering and social sciences, number of articles published in Nature and Science between 2003-2007, and number of articles listed in Thompson Scientific’s Science Citation Index Expanded and its Social Sciences Citation Index in 2007, among others.

While members of the various committees have begun studying several institutions to come up with certain world class indicators of rankings, NAAC will take time to conduct in depth research before announcing such a ranking. The body is closely studying the Shanghai index which includes two categories based on Nobel prizes and Fields medals. These measure the quality of research that might have been produced decades ago.

“While it might be tough to come up with exact indicators like that of Shanghai including Nobel prize winners and Fields medals, our indicators will be globally acceptable. The NAAC ranking will have to be as niche as the ARWU,” said Ranganath.

Ranganath added that the ranking will not only be applicable on the NAAC accredited institutions but also on other institutes. “The NAAC-ranking should not be just for Indian universities but for others too. While it is premature to state an exact date, we intend to come up with indicators for the rankings by 2010-11,” he said.

The body functions through its General Council and Executive Committee where educational administrators, policy makers and senior academician from a cross-section of the system of higher education are represented.

First Published: Tue, January 06 2009. 00:00 IST