HT Chandigarh Our Take: Panjab University has miles to go after NIRF rankings
The Union human resource development ministry’s National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) announced on Thursday did not bring good news for one of north India’s top universities: Panjab University (PU) was 10 positions down from rank 34 to 44 among educational institutes in the country.
PU’s ranking among universities too slipped from 21 in 2019 to 26 this year, a very poor performance for an institute that in 2016 was ranked 12 among all universities.
PU’s scores in all vital parameters dropped – in teaching, learning and resources, including total student strength, faculty-student ratio and financial resources, it scored 50.08 as against 51.09 in 2019.
Scores dropped in research and professional practice as well to 42.83 against last year’s 44.82. This parameter includes the varsity’s patents both published and granted, combined metric for publication and footprints of projects.
PU also didn’t do too well in graduation outcome; outreach and inclusivity, and perception. Graduation outcome includes metric for university exams and number of PhD students graduated. Outreach and inclusivity includes percentage of students from other states and countries; woman students, economically and socially challenged students and facilities for disabled students.
The top three universities in the rankings were Indian Institute of Science Bangalore, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Banaras Hindu University (BHU).
Interestingly enough, though PU slipped 13 notches in the eighth edition of Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2020, missing a spot in the top 100, it was placed higher than University of Delhi, which was at the 155th spot; as well as JNU and BHU, putting a question mark over how the rankings are arrived at.
Nonetheless, with PU grappling for some years with a financial crunch and facing strong opposition from students to its proposed 7.5 % fee hike in self-financed courses and 5% in all traditional courses for the new entrants, any chance of the institute getting its act together to revamp its departments and taking immediate measures to improve upon its research output looks bleak.
With the Covid-19 lockdown, economy on the downswing and no clarity on exam date – everything at present seems to be going against the university.
That said, however, nothing can stop PU’s highly qualified faculty, its strong alumni network as well as student bodies from putting their heads together and figuring out a course of action for the future.
Special incentives for researchers, more stress on getting research grants, pushing for additional funding from the Centre or even a relief package are a number of steps that can be taken immediately to help PU improve its position among universities in India.
Can PU power up its performance?
What does Panjab University need to do to improve its performance in global and Indian rankings? Send your responses by June 19 to Chandigarh@ hindustantimes.com