Home DU BLOG What is NIRF and why is it important?

What is NIRF and why is it important?


Our country’s higher education scenario is in a dire need for reform. There needs to be quality and clarity on the approach of building world-class educational institutions. New benchmarks need to be defined to help the overall system to move up on the quality standards.

India had no Ranking system of its own prior to 2015. The students followed international rankings such as the QS World University Rankings and the Shanghai Rankings.

Though, the Indian institutions were at a disadvantage here. The parameters undertaken by these rankings did not have any relevance to the Indian context

Only IISC Bangalore and IIT Delhi managed to get featured in the top 200 of QS World University Rankings but they have not been able to break into the top 50.

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China had faced a similar situation and it came out with its own set of Rankings known as the Shanghai Rankings. Few of the Indian institutes have featured on these lists.

India too took inspiration from China and came up with its own Ranking system which removes the disadvantage that Indian Institutes had at the global stage.

National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) is a methodology adopted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and was launched on 29 September 2015 in order to rank all institutions of higher education in India.

There are separate rankings for different types of institutions depending on their area of operation. NIRF uses several parameters for ranking purposes including Teaching, learning and resources; research and professional practices; graduation outcomes; outreach and inclusivity; and perception.

The ranking is arrived at after detailed analysis and validation of data submitted by more than 3,600 higher educational institutes.

It takes into account: perception of the institution; representation of women; effectiveness of core teaching and learning among others.


  • Rankings have value

This score is a reflection of where the institute stands. It contains complete information about any institution and plays a great role in helping students make up their minds about which university they want to choose.

  • Grants

Universities need grants. To get grants, they must prove their reputation and to prove the reputation they need money. The universities thus are motivated to create better policies to become better.

  • Timings

The NIRF ranking comes around the time when the admission process in various institutions is about to begin. These rankings can have an impact on students. It can influence them while they are making up their mind to choose the college of their dreams.

  • Takes away the disadvantage         

Earlier, students had to rely on the Shanghai Rankings or the QS World Rankings which did not take into account Indian conditions. This ranking takes out the disadvantage to Indian Institutes as it takes into account parameters which are suited for Indian situations.

  • Path to world rankings

When institutions compete with each other to become role models, the world is bound to take a note of it. This will then improve their rankings in other global Rankings.

  • Check on themselves

As a part of these rankings, institutions have to collect and document data on themselves which gives them enough inspiration to improve themselves to reach the highest level of quality.

NIRF is, however, criticized for accepting data from institutions without any cross-referencing. This way the responsibility for accuracy and authenticity lies with the respective institutions which is frowned upon by many experts.                                                                                                     

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